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Levels of violence, abuse and neglect in early childhood are reported internationally as having reached epidemic proportions. The prevalence of all forms of violence to children has been difficult to establish, particularly in low and middle income countries. However, even in countries with a high GDP, the sexual abuse of children and young people by predatory adults may continue undetected for decades. In parts of Africa young children are mutilated and killed for religious reasons. Physical beatings that injure and break bones are still common in the Western world. Pornography and sexual abuse involving young children is propagated worldwide through the internet. The prevention of this violence will require substantial shifts in parental and public attitudes to children and the development and support of national systems of preventive legislation.
The last 20 years has seen the emergence of a body of material which interrogates early childhood violence and neglect in a wider range of global settings, particularly those countries with a low GDP. This book aims to highlight important features of national and international initiatives which are rooted in findings from systematic research. The continued abuse and neglect of children has been attributed to social acceptance, not understanding the importance of reporting abuse, and the limitations of child welfare systems. This book will be of interest to practitioners in health care, education, and social work services, as well as field workers implementing programmes to address all forms of abuse at family, community and national level. This book was originally published as a special issue of Early Child Development and Care.