GCRF_NF39: COVID-19 Child Abuse Prevention Emergency Response

Lead Research Organisation: University of Oxford
Department Name: Social Policy and Intervention


The COVID-19 Parenting project will reach 57 million families in DAC countries during the COVID epidemic, with evidence-based resources to prevent violence against children and reduce parenting stress.

DAC countries are facing far-reaching COVID epidemics, with cyclical periods of lockdowns and school closures (Mahler, 2020). Parents and caregivers globally are caring for children under exceptionally stressful conditions. Even the most secure families are struggling to manage children within extended lockdowns. Shouting and physical violence are worsened by stress, poverty, alcohol use, confined and crowded conditions (Meinck, 2017), all heightened under COVID-19. UNICEF reports global escalation in child abuse, with severe health, social and economic impacts.

We will work with the World Health Organisation, UNICEF, the Global Partnership to End Violence, UNODC, USAID, the US Centers for Disease Control and other NGOs including the Special Olympics, World Without Orphans and local DAC country community organisations to:

1. Adapt parenting programs with demonstrated effectiveness into scalable resources for DAC countries, using the best evidence. This will include text message-based systems and low-data ir or offline app support for families.
2. Deliver parenting support programs and resources to 57 million families in an initial 14 DAC countries, through partnerships with UN agencies, NGOs and faith-based organisations. Translate resources into relevant DAC country languages to facilitate uptake.
3. Evaluate mechanisms of delivery, costs and their impact on reduction in violence, parenting and stress through online pre-post repeated surveys and in-depth qualitative research with families in DAC settings.

We will achieve a rare outcome for research translation: direct delivery of support to 57 million families in DAC countries. It is exceptional value for money, with a cost to UKRI of less than one penny (£0.008) per DAC family receiving evidence-based violence prevention support during COVID-19.


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