The course will focus on protection of children from violence and abuse. Different approaches to prevention, treatment and care for children in need will be considered. Attention will be given to children and young people of all ages and to problems at the individual, social, and global levels.
Violence against children is omnipresent in society and manifests itself in different settings including the family, school, the neighbourhood, relationships with peers and adults, communication by cell phone and internet, and in the media. We will explore factors that can cause problems for children, their families and municipalities and methods for assessing these factors. Factors which tend to increase the risk of violence and abuse in families include low socioeconomic status, minority background and alcohol and substance abuse. Special characteristics of the child including disability, learning and behaviour problems may also increase the risk of violence and abuse.
Strategies for combating violence and abuse in the family which will be investigated include preventive and supportive measures for children in their families such as financial assistance, subsidized day care, and adult support persons. More intensive interventions such as multisystem therapy (MST) and placement in foster homes and residential care will also be considered. Better methods for treating abusers will be examined.
The UN Convention on the Rights of the Child is a central principle for the course, and will be emphasized in the presentations. Article 19, which aims to protect the child from all forms of mental violence, injury or abuse, neglect or negligent treatment, maltreatment or exploitation is of central importance. Other relevant articles include 32-38 which aim to protect the child from different forms of abuse including economic exploitation, drug abuse and sexual exploitation