It’s possible to reduce child maltreatment in the UK by at least 70% by 2030. We have developed a strategy to make this a reality, we call it 70/30.
"I do not view 70/30 as either wishful thinking or an unachievable goal. On the contrary, reducing child maltreatment by 70% in the next fifteen years is the minimum acceptable outcome in responding to this unacceptable (and profoundly costly) harm to our youngest children. Our actions as a society must prove that we really do find all child abuse, neglect and toxic childhood environments intolerable . . . by no longer tolerating them."
Sir Harry Burns (Scotland's former Chief Medical Officer, Strathclyde's Professor of Global Public Health and WAVE's first Senior Fellow)
One in five children has experienced maltreatment during their lives. The peak age of child abuse is 0 – 1.
Child maltreatment is the leading preventable cause of major mental health illness. In addition, child maltreatment has been shown to have lifelong adverse health, social, and economic consequences for survivors, including behavioural problems; increased risk of delinquency, criminality and violent behaviour; increased risk of chronic diseases; lasting impacts or disability from physical injury; reduced health-related quality of life; and lower levels of economic well-being.
In the UK, it is estimated that there are eight children who have suffered maltreatment for every single child that has a child protection plan or is on a child protection register.
Achieving 70/30 is possible because:
- We now understand the root causes of child maltreatment. We’ve spent years identifying these and what to do about them
- We’ve also identified the major triggers which contribute to high levels of maltreatment and have developed expertise in how to address these
- We have identified best practice solutions from around the world
- Using that knowledge, we’ve developed a blueprint showing how major reductions in child maltreatment can be achieved
- Parents want happier families and better outcomes for their children. Communities want to thrive and be safe. Our blueprint includes the collective impact of communities and local organisations working together to achieve 70/30
- We have developed partnerships and alliances of organisations, individuals, experts and communities committed to working together to achieve the 70/30 goal
Further, a focus on primary prevention – preventing harm to children before it happens – offers a significant economic payback to local and national government.
A stitch in time saves nine
Currently, most local authorities in Britain tackle child maltreatment by reacting after the event. This reactive approach also occurs in many other areas of children’s policy. What is missing is a commitment to prevent harm before it begins – primary prevention – backed up by meaningful action.
Examples of what we do to generate primary prevention ‘on the ground’:
Our 2013 report Conception to age 2 - the age of opportunity is the result of a major study in collaboration with the Departments of Health and Education. This ground-breaking report endorses our major recommendations about the importance of early life. It also includes a specific Framework for local area service commissioners.
We are currently working with a number of local authorities to develop detailed plans in areas such as child maltreatment and perinatal mental health that incorporate the recommendations in the report. Implementing these recommendations will not only help local government fulfil the requirements of the Healthy Child Programme but will improve families’ lives in the short term.
The Christie Commission in Scotland has identified that 40% of local public service spending is only necessary because action was not taken early enough. They call this ‘failure demand’. The primary prevention plans we develop jointly with local authorities are intended to prevent the waste of failure demand.
- A Better Start
The Big Lottery Fund invited WAVE to help shape their £215 million primary prevention initiative 'A Better Start'. WAVE has advised on the social and emotional aspects of child development and sits on the steering committee of this project (the only charity to do so). This initiative will support a selection of particularly disadvantaged local areas over an 8 year period to focus on infant social and emotional development, language development and nutrition. Every local authority bidding for the Lottery funds for 'A Better Start' was given a copy of our Conception to Age 2 – Age of opportunity.
If you would like to talk more about local implementation of primary prevention contact our Local Authority and Health Liaison Officer, Claire Fraser
We have set a radical but achievable goal of a 70% reduction in child maltreatment by the year 2030 – we call this the ‘70/30’ goal – and have established an alliance of supporters, including MPs and Ministers from the coalition parties and opposition, charities, community groups, academics, think tanks and professional experts. Coupled with our blueprint for action the intention is to create an unstoppable momentum committed to delivering 70/30.
The economic case for primary prevention, coupled with the specific approaches and interventions which we have identified, is overwhelming. We have presented the economic arguments in our 2010 report International experience of early intervention for children, young people and their families and also in the economics appendix (p. 100) of our 2013 report Conception to age 2 - the age of opportunity.
In the short term local areas will benefit from lower costs of children taken into care, court proceedings and costs of educational disruption. There will also be lower costs of dealing with mental health problems. Ultimately, the benefits will flow to society in lower costs in health, criminal justice and welfare. As we change the mix of society to a higher proportion of pro-social contributing citizens this will be reflected in lower taxes.
Contact us if you’re interested in finding out more about how we envisage 70/30 being taken forward.
Get Involved in 70/30
If you work for a local authority, Clinical Commissioning Group or are from the third sector or a community group and would like to find out more about implementing 70/30 please contact Claire Fraser on firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you are an individual or organisation interested in supporting 70/30 please contact Anthoulla Koutsoudi on email@example.com.
If you would like to support through JustGiving please text WAVE30 including the amount you wish to donate to 70070.
For any other questions please email firstname.lastname@example.org.