Safeguarding children across the globe

Child maltreatment is a reality that affects children throughout the world – in all cultures and across all continents. How different countries respond to this varies. From countries adopting a strong and often punitive protection focus, to more supportive models of working in partnership with parents, through to areas where corruption, indifference or a lack of infrastructure can compromise efforts to safeguard children, the complexities of responding to this need are huge.

‘the type of model adopted within a country can have a significant impact upon the response subsequently made to children with safeguarding needs’


Our latest special issue of Child Abuse Review presents a series of papers which demonstrate how different models of child protection have been developed and implemented in different countries and consider the implications for the treatment and protection of children. It provides examples of cross-national learning and examines the policymaking context behind child protection models and where such learning has not always had positive outcomes for children. Accounts of child protection practice within Africa, Taiwan, Finland, Norway, the UK, the USA, Suriname, Sweden and China are presented.

In an accompanying editorial, our guest editors, Louise Brown, Jie Lei and Marianne Strydom explore some of these issues and highlight the research presented in this issue. They argue the case for areas that are developing child protection systems to draw on learning from elsewhere, but to temper this with more locally-based practical responses developed in partnership with local communities.

How effectively we are able to safeguard and protect children depends not only on the systems and structures we have in place to respond to child abuse and neglect, but also on the underlying cultural values affecting how we perceive children and families. Two papers in this special issue – from Suriname and from Finland and Sweden – present very different cultural contexts and make for interesting reflection.


‘This special issue brings to our attention issues relating to the different models of child protection that have been adopted by different countries and the complexity in the process of adapting models to fit different cultural contexts. It questions the usefulness and validity of attempts to impose international standards, and how different models can result in different responses to children’


You can access the editorial for free, along with the full table of contents, earlier issues and early view papers on the Child Abuse Review website:


Child Abuse Review Special Issue 26:4 Table of Contents

Comparing International Approaches to Safeguarding Children: Global Lesson Learning (pages 247–251)

Louise Brown, Jie Lei and Marianne Strydom


The Practical Sense of Protection: A Discussion Paper on the Reporting of Child Abuse in Africa and whether International Standards Actually Help Keep Children Safe (pages 252–262)

Karen Walker-Simpson


Policy Assemblage in Taiwan’s Child Protection Reforms: Policy Mixture, Policy Regime Change and Shifting Policy Challenges (pages 263–274)

Yei-Whei Lin


Perceptions of Corporal Punishment among Creole and Maroon Professionals and Community Members in Suriname (pages 275–288)

Inger W. van der Kooij, Josta Nieuwendam, Gerben Moerman, Frits Boer, Ramón J. L. Lindauer, Jaipaul L. Roopnarine and Tobi L. G. Graafsma


Parents’ Self-Reported Use of Corporal Punishment and Other Humiliating Upbringing Practices in Finland and Sweden – A Comparative Study (pages 289–304)

Noora Ellonen, Steven Lucas, Ylva Tindberg and Staffan Janson


A Cross-Country Comparison of Child Welfare Systems and Workers’ Responses to Children Appearing to be at Risk or in Need of Help (pages 305–319)

Jill Berrick, Jonathan Dickens, Tarja Pösö and Marit Skivenes