Safeguarding Children from Emotional Abuse - What Works?

The objective of this review was to identify studies that evaluate the effectiveness of interventions to prevent child emotional abuse before it occurs and also to prevent its recurrence. It focuses on the parents or primary carers of children aged 0-19 years. There was limited evidence of the effectiveness of interventions in the treatment of emotional maltreatment.

Two approaches have been used to prevent emotional abuse before it occurs, population based and targeted methods. Evidence suggests that targeted attachment based interventions improved maternal sensitivity and infant attachment security. The evidence to show what works to prevent recurrence of emotional abuse is limited but some forms of emotionally abusive parenting respond to cognitive behavioural therapy.

Jane Barlow
Anita Schrader-MacMillan
Department for Children, Schools and Families