The Problem of Child Abuse: Attitudes and Experiences in Seven Countries of Central and Eastern Europe - Comparative report

Report - The studies were conducted in 2005/2006 in seven East European countries: Bulgaria, Lithuania, Latvia, Macedonia, Moldova, Poland, and Ukraine. Their main objective was to assess public attitudes, especially those held by professionals working with children, toward the problem of child abuse, as well as professionals? experience in undertaking interventions in such cases and their evaluation of the effectiveness of the child protection system in their countries.

The studies sought answers to the following research questions:

  • How do the respondents estimate the scale of a wide range of abusive behaviours towards children in the countries participating in the project?
  • How do they evaluate the dynamics of various aspects of child abuse?
  • What is the level of social acceptance of controlling parents’ behaviours toward their children by state and other people?
  • What are the respondents’ self-reported attitudes toward parental use of corporal punishment of children?
  • How do they evaluate various professional groups’ sensitivity and competence in the area of child protection?

Answers to the research questions were sought in two groups of respondents:

In each of the seven countries a nationwide, representative sample of adult citizens provided answers to two questions: (1) a question concerning their attitudes toward parental use of corporal punishment of children, and (2) a question concerning their perceptions of the scale of such behaviours among parents. The respondents provided answers to these two questions within Omnibus studies conducted in the participating countries by various research agencies.

The second group of studies were teachers working at capital-city primary schools. In each capital city ten schools were selected from different districts, using the

layered random sampling method. Developed by Monika Sajkowska, the questionnaire consisted of 87 items which had been previously used in Polish research programmes concerning child abuse (Sajkowska, Siemaszko, 1998; Fluderska, Sajkowska, 2001).

Research was conducted as a part of the program “Childhood without abuse: Toward a Better Child Protection System in Eastern Europe” sponsored by OAK Foundation.