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The Role of Parenting Programmes in the Prevention of Child Maltreatment


Matthew Sanders, School of Psychology, University of Queensland, St Lucia, Brisbane, QLD 4072, Australia. Fax: +61 7 3365 6724; email:


Child maltreatment is a major worldwide concern and continuing high rates of abuse demand action. This article examines the role of parenting programmes as a strategy to prevent child maltreatment in the population as a whole and also as a targeted intervention for parents who have abused, or are at risk of abusing, their children. We argue that a blend of universal and targeted interventions is needed to reduce the prevalence of child maltreatment. Parenting interventions that concurrently target positive parenting and effective child management skills, dysfunctional parental attributions, and increasing parents' capacity to regulate their emotions are particularly useful. A variant of the Triple P—Positive Parenting Program, known as Pathways Triple P, is discussed to illustrate the value of this approach. Contextual factors that need to be addressed in working with child protection cases are also discussed. The role of training and supervision is discussed in the context of disseminating evidence-based parenting programmes, and future directions for research are presented.