• June 2008
  • Vol. 9, No. 5

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Promoting Consistent Data Collection

As part of its ongoing effort to promote a public health approach to the prevention of child maltreatment, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) National Center for Injury Prevention and Control has developed a set of recommendations designed to promote consistent terminology and data collection related to child abuse and neglect. Child Maltreatment Surveillance: Uniform Definitions for Public Health and Recommended Data Elements defines child maltreatment, presents associated terms, and recommends data elements for voluntary use by individuals and organizations in the public health community. It is designed to aid State and local health department staff in the collection of public health surveillance data on child maltreatment.

The publication was developed because definitions used by the research and legal communities have proven inadequate for consistent public health surveillance on the incidence of child maltreatment. The lack of consistent information about the number of children affected by maltreatment limits the ability of public health systems to respond. More consistent surveillance methods may provide the following:

  • A gauge of the magnitude of child maltreatment in relation to other public health problems
  • Increased ability to identify those groups at highest risk who might benefit from focused interventions or increased services
  • Ways to monitor changes in the incidence and prevalence of child maltreatment over time
  • An improved measure of the effectiveness of child maltreatment prevention and intervention activities

Child Maltreatment Surveillance is available on the CDC website:

www.cdc.gov/ncipc/dvp/CM_Surveillance.pdf (4,219 - KB)

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