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Child Neglect in Humanitarian Settings: Literature review and recommendations for strengthening prevention and response

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The Alliance for Child Protection in Humanitarian Action

The available data routinely demonstrates that child neglect is the most common form of child maltreatment and is the leading cause of death in child maltreatment cases.The purpose of this literature review is to synthesise evidence on the prevalence, patterns and impacts of child neglect in humanitarian contexts.

Further research and rigorous analysis are required in order to understand the complex relationship between humanitarian crises and child neglect and to equip the child protection community to design effective, appropriate and well-targeted interventions. Particularly critical is the need to determine what constitutes neglect in humanitarian settings—as opposed to general deprivation or inadequate caregiving—to establish thresholds for a child protection response. Currently no such policy or practice guides exist.

As child protection actors coordinate with other sectors across humanitarian and development settings, child neglect can become more clearly defined, identified and addressed. 

The one-page Evidence Gap offers a concise overview of the report findings. 

To maximize learning and application, see the companion Study Guide: Child neglect in humanitarian settings

A Live Q&A with associated pre-recorded video and transcript was held 24 January 2019. 

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