The prevalence of child maltreatment in the Netherlands across a 5-year period

Child Abuse Negl. 2013 Oct;37(10):841-51. doi: 10.1016/j.chiabu.2013.07.004. Epub 2013 Aug 9.


The prevalence of child maltreatment in the Netherlands was in 2005 first systematically examined in the Netherlands' Prevalence study on Maltreatment of children and youth (NPM-2005), using sentinel reports and substantiated CPS cases, and in the Pupils on Abuse study (PoA-2005), using high school students' self-report. In this second National Prevalence study on Maltreatment (NPM-2010), we used the same three methods to examine the prevalence of child maltreatment in 2010, enabling a cross-time comparison of the prevalence of child maltreatment in the Netherlands. First, 1,127 professionals from various occupational branches (sentinels) reported each child for whom they suspected child maltreatment during a period of three months. Second, we included 22,661 substantiated cases reported in 2010 to the Dutch Child Protective Services. Third, 1,920 high school students aged 12-17 years filled out a questionnaire on their experiences of maltreatment in 2010. The overall prevalence of child maltreatment in the Netherlands in 2010 was 33.8 per 1,000 children based on the combined sentinel and CPS reports and 99.4 per 1,000 adolescents based on self-report. Major risk factors for child maltreatment were parental low education, immigrant status, unemployment, and single parenthood. We found a large increase in CPS-reports, whereas prevalence rates based on sentinel and self-report did not change between 2005 and 2010. Based on these findings a likely conclusion is that the actual number of maltreated children has not increased from 2005 to 2010, but that professionals have become more aware of child maltreatment, and more likely to report cases to CPS.

Keywords: Child abuse; Child maltreatment; Child neglect; Prevalence; Self-report; Sentinel.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Child
  • Child Abuse / classification*
  • Child Abuse / statistics & numerical data*
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Emotions
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Male
  • Netherlands / epidemiology
  • Risk Factors
  • Self Report
  • Surveys and Questionnaires