Professionals’ Digital Training for Child Maltreatment Prevention in the COVID-19 Era: A Pan-European Model

Cristina Crocamo, Bianca Bachi, Riccardo M. Cioni, Henrike Schecke, Irja Nieminen, Lidia Zabłocka-Żytka, Małgorzata Woźniak-Prus, Francesco Bartoli, Ilaria Riboldi, Jane V. Appleton, Sarah Bekaert, Giedre Zlatkute, Emmanuelle Jouet, Giovanni Viganò, Michael Specka, Norbert Scherbaum, Eija Paavilainen, Alexander Baldacchino, Giuseppe Carrà

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The responsiveness of professionals working with children and families is of key im-portance for child maltreatment early identification. However, this might be undermined when multifaceted circumstances, such as the COVID-19 pandemic, reduce interdisciplinary educational ac-tivities. Thanks to technological developments, digital platforms seem promising in dealing with new challenges for professionals’ training. We examined a digital approach to child maltreatment training through the ERICA project experience (Stopping Child Maltreatment through Pan-European Multi-professional Training Programme). ERICA has been piloted during the pandemic in seven European centers involving interconnected sectors of professionals working with children and families. The training consisted of interactive modules embedded in a digital learning framework. Different aspects (technology, interaction, and organization) were evaluated and trainers’ feedback on digital features was sought. Technical issues were the main barrier, however, these did not significantly disrupt the training. The trainers perceived reduced interaction between participants, although distinct factors were uncovered as potential favorable mediators. Based on participants’ subjective experiences and perspectives, digital learning frameworks for professionals working with children and families (such as the ERICA model nested in its indispensable adaptation to an e-learning mode) can represent a novel interactive approach to empower trainers and trainees to tackle child maltreatment during critical times such as a pandemic, and as an alternative to more traditional learning frameworks.

Original languageEnglish
Article number885
Number of pages15
JournalInternational Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2022
Publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


  • Child maltreatment
  • Digital health
  • E-learning
  • Multidisciplinary
  • Professionals

Publication forum classification

  • Publication forum level 1

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pollution
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis


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