PROCHILD: Protection and support of abused children through multidisciplinary intervention: Development of a services collaboration protocol in Greece

  • Maria Psarrakou
  • Anthi Vasilakopoulou
  • George Nikolaidis
Keywords: child abuse, child neglect, multi-disciplinary cooperation, guidelines for professionals, collaboration protocol


Child abuse and neglect is a public health problem, attributed to multiple factors that may be related to characteristics of the child, the caregivers, the family or the broader community. It entails both direct and long-term consequences on individual and social level, especially causing physical and mental health issues, but also leading to social and economic implications. According to the Convention on the Rights of the Child, States Parties should take all appropriate measures for the prevention of the phenomenon, as well as for the protection of the child-victim, including procedures of identification, reporting, investigation, judicial involvement, treatment and follow-up of the cases. However, no such standardized procedures have been developed by the Greek authorities; as a result, the services provided are fragmented, often leading to secondary victimization of the child. The Prochild EU-funded project aims to create an interdisciplinary model of cooperation among stakeholders involved in child protection cases. Two surveys, one addressed to professionals and one addressed to children victims, as well as seven consultation meetings with professionals from the sectors of social welfare, health, education, law enforcement and justice have taken place, in order for major shortcomings of the system to be identified, and for an integrated protocol to be developed. The main conclusions from the aforementioned actions are that a) all professionals need to follow national or regional procedures regarding detection, reporting, investigation and intervention, b) it is necessary for child abuse and neglect victims to undergo only one forensic interview by an appropriately trained professional, in a child-friendly setting, c) all professionals involved in a specific case should share relevant information among them, in order for the child to be supported in the best way possible, d) when several professionals are to be involved, they should form a team early on, and handle the case cooperatively, and e) it is useful for one service/professional to undertake the role of the coordinator in each case, depending on the type of abuse. Taking all the above suggestions, among others, into account, the Institute of Child Health is currently developing an interdisciplinary and intersectoral collaboration protocol to effectively address all reports of child abuse or neglect.

General article