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COVID-19 Playful Parenting Emergency Response (“COPPER”) – Preventing Child Abuse in COVID-19

COVID-19 brought – and continues to cause – unprecedented stress for families: economic crisis, school closures, lockdowns, mental health distress, and consequent increased violence, with evidence showing that violence and vulnerability increase for children during periods of school closures associated with health emergencies. This project worked to address and alleviate these harsh risks and realities for children worldwide, especially families living in the most deprived and difficult contexts.

As 1.8bn children left school in March 2020, our project leads Prof Lucie Cluver and Dr Jamie Lachman brought together a network of international policy partners in child abuse prevention: UNICEF, WHO, UNODC, Global Partnership to End Violence, USAID and CDC. Together we adapted our existing evidence-based parenting programmes into open-source multi-media public engagement resources, focused on concrete tips to build positive relationships, divert and manage bad behaviour, and manage parenting stress, giving families effective strategies to survive lockdown. The initial materials were translated into over 100 languages, and expanded to a wide range of tip sheets, comic strips, audio packs for radio and public service announcements, social media messaging kits, digital apps in multiple formats, online parenting support programmes, community and caseworker templates, church leaders’ and imams’ packs, and a theme song by a Broadway producer. Importantly, these parenting resources are based on robust evidence from randomised controlled trials in low- and middle-income countries. 

As of August 2021, these resources have reached over 193 million people in 198 countries and territories, with 33 governments using this research in their national pandemic responses/child violence prevention programmes.

Team:

OVERALL PROJECT MANAGEMENT
Dr Jamie M. Lachman (Department of Social Policy and Intervention, University of Oxford, and MRC/CSO Social and Public Health Sciences Unit, University of Glasgow, United Kingdom) (co-PI)
Professor Lucie Cluver (Department of Social Policy and Intervention, University of Oxford & Department of Psychiatry and Mental Health, University of Cape Town, United Kingdom & South Africa) (co-PI)
Dr Inge Wessels (Department of Social Policy and Intervention, University of Oxford, and Department of Psychology, University of Cape Town, South Africa)
Suha Beckham (University of Oxford, United Kingdom)

SCIENTIFIC RESEARCH ADVISORY GROUP
Professor Frances Gardner (Department of Social Policy and Intervention, University of Oxford, South Africa)
Dr Michelle Esposti (Department of Social Policy and Intervention, University of Oxford, United Kingdom)
Professor Lorraine Sherr (University College London, United Kingdom)
Dr Chris Desmond (University of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa)
Sally Merry

Partners:
Many hundreds of government organisations, international organisations,  NGOs, faith-based organisations, academic institutions, companies, charities, and community groups have participated in this project, alongside many thousands of individuals contributing their expertise, including:
WHO
UNICEF
WWO
CSO Forum to End Violence Against Children
CDC
World Childhood Foundation
IOGT
USAID
UNODOC
IDEMS
Maestral
Together for Girls
GPVAC
UNFPA
World Bank
CWBSA
ECDAN
WHO/PAHO
Safaricom
IBM
The Special Olympics
Proof Africa
Institute for Security Studies
Child Helpline International

Funding Partners:
UKRI, GCRF, Newton Fund, University of Oxford, University of Cape Town, OAK Foundation, UNICEF, ERC, Lego Foundation, CWBSA, Generali, The Human Safety Net, End Violence Against Children

Read more.

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