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Review: home visitation by nurses beginning prenatally and extending through infancy prevents child abuse and neglect

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QUESTION: Are interventions aimed at preventing child maltreatment effective?

Data sources

Studies were identified by searching Medline, HealthSTAR, PsycINFO, ERIC, and Current Contents for the years 1993–9 using the content terms child abuse, child neglect, battered child syndrome, incest, prevention and control, and screening combined with the methodological terms statistics and numerical data, aetiology, epidemiology, experimental design, meta-analysis, and literature review. Experts in the field were also consulted.

Study selection

Studies were selected if they were original research articles, reviews, meta-analyses, or practice guidelines that described interventions to prevent child maltreatment.

Data extraction

The lead author critically appraised the key articles and extracted data on preventive strategies and outcomes. A panel of experts used a consensus process to analyse and discuss the data, and to grade the level of evidence and strength …

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  • Source of funding: Canadian Task Force on Preventive Health Care.

  • For correspondence: Dr H L MacMillan, Hamilton Health Sciences Corporation, Psychiatry/Pediatrics Department, Centre for Studies of Children at Risk, Chedoke Division, 2nd Floor, PO Box 2000, Hamilton, Ontario L8N 3Z5, Canada. Fax +1 905 574 6665.

  • A modified version of this abstract appears in Evidence-Based Mental Health.