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High level meeting on raising children without violence in Montenegro

27 February 2017 - 28 February 2017
Montenegro END violence conference Jasmina Byrne, UNICEF Innocenti child protection specialist (second from left) and Frances Gardner, professor of child and family psychology from the University of Oxford (second from right) in a panel discussion on parenting support at the End Violence conference in Podgorica, Montenegro, 27 February 2017.

(28 February 2017) Renowned international experts recently took centre stage during the End Violence conference in Podgorica, Montenegro. Frances Gardner, professor of Child and Family Psychology at Oxford University, Nadine Burke Harris, paediatrician globally known for her innovative approach to addressing Adverse Childhood Experiences, and Susan Bissell, Director of the Global Partnership to End Violence Against Children, among many others highlighted the meeting.

Professor Gardner gave a key note address in which she shared recent evidence on the effectiveness of parenting programmes and how they transport across cultures.

Jasmina Byrne, UNICEF Innocenti child protection specialist, chaired a special panel discussion on new efforts to support parents in Montenegro. She presented examples from global policies and practices and emphasised the need for continuous evidence-building and integration of parenting support in all sectors such as health, education and child welfare and protection.  

“In order to ensure the sustainability of these programmes it is important to set up a national framework that enables their development, accreditation and monitoring,” said Byrne, “Such an approach entails collaboration of all levels of society and community, both the civil society organisations and professional associations, who are main providers of services to families, and statutory bodies that have a mandate to protect children from violence and family separation.”

The conference was organized as part of UNICEF's global “END Violence“ campaign. Montenegro joined this global campaign in July 2016. The first phase of the campaign focused on the online violence, while the second phase will also address protection of children from violence in the family and other types of environments.

“Violence and adversity in childhood, including neglect, emotional, physical or sexual abuse or dysfunctional parenting, undermine child-parents relationship with devastating consequences for the individual victim, for the community and the society“, Benjamin Perks, UNICEF Montenegro Representative pointed out, adding that “We now have overwhelming evidence that adversity and poor attachment in childhood results in much worse life-time outcomes in health, education, employment and often criminality and violence“.

UNICEF Montenegro research published in December 2016 found generally low awareness among Montenegrins about what constitutes violence, as well as high tolerance towards violence. One in two believe corporal punishment of children is acceptable and that yelling at a child is not a form of violence. Moreover, one third think that slapping and threatening children are not forms of violence, and a quarter do not recognize blackmailing as violence in the upbringing of children. A wide majority (77 per cent) believe that parents should not allow children to question their decisions.

The “End Violence“ conference, initiated by the Government of Montenegro and UNICEF, aims to spark a fresh public debate on violence against children in Montenegro to raise awareness that raising children without violence does not equate to permissiveness. It aims to support parents to adopt the best parenting practices in order to raise children without violence and to ensure that they grow up as healthy, secure adults.

High level officials from the Montenegrin central Government, the European Union and Montenegrin line ministries also attended the conference. Find more information on UNICEF Innocenti's research on family and parenting support and the drivers of violence affecting children. 

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Parenting interventions are effective when transported from one country to another
Article Article

Parenting interventions are effective when transported from one country to another

(17 March 2017) There is strong evidence that behavioural parenting programmes improve caregiver-child relationships, reduce child problem behaviour, and prevent physical and emotional violence against children. Many governments, international organizations and non-governmental organizations, which address child maltreatment and youth problem behaviour, are promoting widespread roll-out of parenting programmes. A new Innocenti Research Brief, Parenting Interventions: How well do they transport from one country to another? , written by Professor Frances Gardner of the Centre for Evidence-Based Intervention, Department of Social Policy and Intervention, University of Oxford, summarizes her team’s recent findings from two global, systematic reviews ( here and here) of the effectiveness of parenting interventions. UNICEF offices have become increasingly interested in introducing parenting support into their programming, with a focus ranging from violence prevention to early childhood development. To date, the majority of evaluations that show the effects of parenting programmes are from high-income countries, although there is a growing list of rigorous, randomized trials from low- and middle-income countries, including Indonesia, Iran, Liberia and Panama. UNICEF Office of Research – Innocenti has worked on research related to support for families and parents since 2013. In particular, Innocenti supported research on the Sinovuyo Caring Families Programme for parents and Teens, by partnering with Oxford University in doing qualitative research that examined service delivery mechanisms and implications for taking it to scale. This study complemented the randomized control trial. As interest in parenting programmes grows, policymakers, service providers and others are faced with a range of decisions, including whether to import an intervention from another country or region (which may have very different cultural values), or whether to develop one locally. We use the term ‘transport’ to refer to moving a programme from one country to another. Developing a new programme is time-consuming and costly. Established parenting programmes – those with the best evidence of effectiveness – have been designed using decades’ worth of knowledge and behavioural research. The two recent reviews summarized in the new Innocenti Research Brief investigated the transportability of parenting interventions. The first looked at whether interventions are effective when they are transported from one country to another, and whether differences in cultural factors or family policy regimes could influence effectiveness. The second tested directly whether locally developed or transported programmes are more effective. Findings of the same review suggested that interventions transported from the United States and Australia to other high-income countries in a largely European or North American cultural context, showed comparable effect sizes to those in the country of origin. However, effect sizes were higher when the same interventions were transported to regions that were culturally more distant: Asia; Latin America; and the Middle East.  

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