Greater benefits for children through a long-term integrated approach
The Optimus Study is a ten-year initiative and attempts to assess the extent, forms and circumstances of sexual abuse of children and adolescents in a range of different countries.
On a national level, the initiative aims to develop a solid evidence-base that can guide prevention, intervention and policy. On an international level, the ultimate aim will be to identify cultural and socio-economic determinants of risk factors and consequences of child abuse, which will facilitate the creation of intervention and prevention programs that are more sensitive to the specific context so that children and adolescents across the world can be better protected. The initiative also aims to address and advance the key methodological challenges of the field.
Research conducted in each country follows a three-phase approach:
Phase 1: Generating an evidence-base
The aim of the first phase is to understand the current situation: Epidemiological data is collected using two surveys: one survey of a representative population sample, and one survey of child protection organizations and agencies. This will enable more detailed insight into the scope, consequences and number of reported and available services for dealing with child maltreatment. This information will be used as a basis for determining reporting biases and deriving recommendations for evidence-based prevention and intervention. In order to raise awareness and generate momentum among policy makers, service providers and the public, these results will be shared with relevant stakeholders in the field.
Phase 2: Expert dialogue and implementation
During the second phase, stakeholders from government and community agencies will be invited to identify the most pressing problems and challenges facing the implementation of appropriate measures to respond to key findings from the first phase. Changes in the field will be monitored and evidence-based programs will be piloted.
Phase 3: Measuring impact
During the third phase, new data will be collected and compared with baseline data to assess the changes in the field.