Preventing child maltreatment through community nursing



The role of community nurses, such as health visitors, in the prevention of child abuse and neglect by home visits is reviewed The paper evaluates the potential of community nurses for predicting and identifying families at high risk for child maltreatment in order to support them through the promotion of positive parental knowledge, attitudes, skills and behaviour The success of health visitor interventions to prevent family problems is also evaluated The review concludes that accurate prediction of child-maltreating families requires more than one screening procedure to reduce the number of false alarms, and suggests that health visitors might be trained in the objective assessment of parent-child interaction Few health visitor interventions were deemed a success, indicating that greater support and training is required for community nurses if they are to be used to prevent child abuse and neglect However, recent changes in the community nursing services and the purchaser-provider split in health care has reduced this possibility