Cooperation Between Safe Home and Municipalities in Zuid-Limburg: Gaps in the Approach to Child Abuse

Brenda Erens*, Corine de Ruiter, Henry Otgaar, Joke Humblet

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Since January 2015, Safe Home [in Dutch: Veilig Thuis] is the national report
center for child abuse and domestic violence. The task of Safe Home and its
partner organizations is to stop child abuse and domestic violence. The Risk-
Need-Responsivity (RNR) model states that to reduce the chance for harmful
behaviors in the future, relevant risk factors should be addressed in individual
cases. Offered treatment programs should also be attuned to these risk
factors (which is known as risk-based care). The offered risk-based care does
not always correspond to the request of the family in question.
In the current study the main question was how it is determined which treatment
program or care is offered by the municipalities to families after the
investigation of Safe Home is completed and a case is transferred to the local
municipality. We interviewed professionals from six municipalities in the region
of South-Limburg about the use of structured risk assessment tools and
the effectiveness of offered treatment programs. We found that the choice
for certain treatment programs is mainly based on the family’s request (and
not risk-based, as suggested by the RNR-model). Moreover, the municipalities
make limited use of risk assessment tools that meet scientific standards.
In order to stop child abuse in the long term, a radical change is needed in
the approach of child abuse cases. We offer several recommendations, including
the use of scientifically validated risk assessment tools and a closer
cooperation and exchange of information between Safe Home and its partner
Translated title of the contributionCooperation Between Safe Home and Municipalities in Zuid-Limburg: Gaps in the Approach to Child Abuse
Original languageDutch
Pages (from-to)529-552
JournalMens en Maatschappij
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2021

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