Optimus Study Switzerland

Under Switzerland’s federalist system, child protection is regulated according to the principle of subsidiarity. Responsibility is shared between the federal government, the cantons and the municipalities. There are also a large number of private organizations, non-profit associations and foundations that work towards child protection.

The Optimus Study Switzerland is an attempt to shed light on the subject and ultimately contribute to better protection of children. No national data on prevalence or incidence was available for Switzerland to provide an evidence base on scope and magnitude as a foundation for effective prevention and intervention measures.

As with all of the country studies conducted as part of the Optimus Study, the research and mobilization activities are carried out over three phases: 

Phase 1: Student and agency survey (2008 – 2011) 

The goal of this first phase was to gain greater insight into the scope, consequences, estimated number of unreported cases, and services available to address sexual abuse of children. More than 6700 ninth grade students in Switzerland provided information about any sexual assault they have been exposed to, possible consequences they suffered, the context of the incident, the perpetrator, and other circumstances in their personal lives (e.g. whether parents are separated, number of siblings, etc). In addition, 324 institutions active in the field of child protection provided information about cases reported to them. This survey provides the most comprehensive picture so far of the extent and forms of sexual assault against minors in Switzerland.

Key results are available in the publications listed below.

Brochure of Optimus Study Switzerland (2012)

English   German  French   Italian


Full report of the Optimus Study Switzerland (2011)

English   German   French


Phase 2: Expert dialogue and implementation (2012 – 2015) 

During this phase, discussions among experts were facilitated to develop recommendations based on policy and practices building on collected data. Furthermore, pilot projects that address the key issues identified in the survey will be implemented. As part of the Optimus Study, the changes introduced will be recorded and monitored. 

Key results are available in the publications listed below.

Recommendations for reducing sexual violence among teenagers. A specialist report (2013)

English   German   French   Italian


Phase 3: Review (2015 – 2018)

During the third phase, a new data collection effort aims at mapping legal, health and child protective services responses to all types of child maltreatment To achieve high participation and overcome the barrier of scarce resources of the agencies, an innovative and participant-friendly approach is chosen by utilizing anonymous excerpts from the agencies’ internal documentation of cases.



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Recommendations for reducing sexual violence among teenagers

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Optimus Study South Africa initiated

Implementation of a new Optimus Study in South Africa has begun

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How to order the brochure or the recommandations for the study Switzerland:

Please send an email with following details

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  • required number of brochures
  • required number of recommandations
  • and required language (English, German, French, Italian)

to the following address order@remove-this.optimusstudy.org