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European Epidemiology of Child Abuse and Neglect (Euro-CAN)

Research in the field of child abuse and neglect (CAN) epidemiology, recognition and investigation within clinical practice across Europe.

There is a paucity of research in the field of child abuse and neglect (CAN) epidemiology, recognition and investigation within clinical practice across Europe.

The World Health Organization (WHO) Regional Office for Europe in its report, European Report on Preventing Child Maltreatment, 2013 states that child maltreatment (CM) is a serious public health and societal problem in the European Region.

Few countries regularly collect reliable information on CAN prevalence and other adverse childhood experiences. There is an urgent need for credible and valid data that can be exchanged across sectors in Europe.

More research is needed to identify the prevalence of CAN in Europe using agreed standardised operational definitions. Consensus-based standardised data collection tools are fundamental to monitoring and evaluating the impact of preventive child abuse and neglect programmes.

European Epidemiology of Child Abuse and Neglect (Euro-CAN) was set up in 2015.  It is a multidisciplinary collaboration between four European countries (The UK, Ireland, Sweden and The Netherlands) conducting research into CAN.

Research themes

  • Epidemiology of CAN in Europe.
  • Comparison of child protection medical investigations in these countries.
  • The development, piloting and implementation of a  standardised data collection (SDC) tool and to collect a  minimum dataset (MDS).
  • Develop, pilot, and validate clinical decision rules for subsequent scaling up for use across all European Union countries.
  • Multi-disciplinary and multi-agency collaboration and innovation in CAN with partners in social care, education, law enforcement agencies and healthcare.

Euro-CAN is currently developing and implementing ‘The Vignette Study’ between four European countries to evaluate variation in clinical practice in child protection (CP) medical assessments and interventions.


  • Seek funding to enhance European research capacity into CP.
  • Determine the referral criteria, prevalence rates, characteristics, risk factors, short and long term outcomes of CAN across different European regions?
  • Identify the regional and inter country variations in preventive initiatives, national standards, and models of care and policy changes in the four countries?
  • Determine what impact these regional and inter country variations have on CAN prevalence, short and long term outcomes?
  • Create the best medical care pathway on CAN

Academic staff

Dr Aideen Naughton

Designated Doctor for CP, Wales, UK

Dr Eva Hoytema

Paediatric Resident, Academic Medical Center, Amsterdam, the Netherlands

Dr Alison Livingstone

Named Doctor for CP, Belfast, Northern Ireland, UK

Dr Deborah Hodes

Designated Doctor for CP, London, UK

Dr Emma Curtis

Consultant Paediatrician, Dublin, Ireland

Dr Gabriel Otterman

Consultant Paediatrician, Uppsala University Hospital, Sweden

Dr Joanne Nelson

Paediatrician and Clinical Director of the Child and Adolescent Sexual Assault Treatment Service, Galway, Republic of Ireland

Dr Nicola Cleghorn

Senior Medical Safeguarding Lead for County Durham and Darlington NHS Foundation Trust and a Consultant Forensic Paediatrican for the Northern Paediatric Forensic Network, England, UK

Professor Rick van Rijn

Professor Paediatric Forensic Radiology, Academic Medical Center, Amsterdam, the Netherlands

Dr Steven Lucas

Consultant Paediatrician, Uppsala University, Sweden

Dr Wouter Karst

Forensic Physician, Netherlands Forensic Institute, the Hague, the Netherlands

Jacqueline Mok

Consultant Paediatrician (retired), formerly Lead Paediatrician for Child Protection, Edinburgh. Currently Chair of RCPCH (Scotland) Child Protection Subcommittee

Professor Lorraine Radford

Professor of Social Policy and Social Work, University of Central Lancashire


EURO-CAN meeting 15 October 2015, Bristol, UK.


EURO-CAN meeting 26 February 2016, London, UK.

EURO-CAN meeting planned in London in June/July 2016.