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

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

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The responsiveness of professionals working with children and families is of key importance for child maltreatment early identification. However, this might be undermined when multifaceted circumstances, such as the COVID-19 pandemic, reduce interdisciplinary educational activities. Thanks to technological developments, digital platforms seem promising in dealing with 30 new challenges for professionals’ trainings. We examined a digital approach to child maltreatment training through the ERICA project experience (Stopping Child Maltreatment through Pan-European Multiprofessional 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 frame-work. Different aspects (i.e., 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, like 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 like 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 - 13 Jan 2022


  • Digital health
  • E-learning
  • Multidisciplinary
  • Professionals
  • Child maltreatment
  • COVID-19


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