Switzerland changes child protection laws

by Letizia Orlandi - 2013.01.17

Swiss child protection laws have changed and as of 1 January, child protection is now the responsibility of specialist professionals such as psychologists, social workers, teachers and lawyers. Previously, members of a local council could be responsible for child protection, even though they may have come from non-related backgrounds. This change in the law is seen as a move to address the numerous cases of child abuse and exploitation that have occurred in Switzerland in recent years. Since 2002, the number of social service interventions related to minors increased by 80%. This alarming figure is what drove the national authorities to consider Swiss practice compared to other countries with similar social models. The result is an international study that compares various policies on child protection. The conclusions recommend that mechanisms for emergency interventions in at-risk situations are put in place, taking Great Britain, Canada and Australia as models. The study also recommends that prevention measures are improved so that families at risk can be identified, as in Scandinavia and Germany.