The Identification of Pregnant Women at Risk for Child Abuse: Methodology

Jamila Mejdoubi*, Silvia Van den Heijkant, Elle Struijf, Frank Van Leerdam, Alfons Crijnen and Remy HiraSing

The Identification of Pregnant Women at Risk for Child Abuse: Methodology

Health and societal problems occurring during adulthood can be consequences of adverse experiences during childhood (ACE).

Child abuse and neglect belongs to the most important examples of ACE leading to a range of physical and mental problems, like high blood pressure, organ malfunction as well as cognitive impairment and depression.

In families with more than three risk factors for abuse and neglect, like abuse in the past, substance abuse and low socioeconomic status, the risk for child abuse is up to 24% whereas in families without any risk factors this risk is as low as 3%.

To prevent child abuse and neglect in childhood and the ensuing health problems in adulthood, families with multiple risk factors should be offered an effective intervention as early as pregnancy and the first years of life.

Possible predictors of child maltreatment have been examined many times.
Berlin et al. showed, for instance, that intergenerational factors increase
the risk of child maltreatment and Begle found that a low attendance rate
in a parenting program predicted child abuse.

However, the researchers did not develop a specific tool to identify high risk families
during pregnancy to guide them to a program for the primary
prevent of child maltreatment.

The overall aim of this research is studying the effectiveness of VoorZorg by means of an RCT.
In the present study, we describe a two-stage procedure to identify, to select and to include high risk pregnant women in a preventive intervention by combining key components of successful selection procedures with components considered to be necessary, such as trained
nurses conducting the interview with the pregnant women.

Gynecol Obstet Res Open J. 2015; 2(1):18-25. doi: 10.17140/GOROJ-2-105