Advancing Child Maltreatment Prevention Using Complex Systems Science Modeling and Simulation

This research applies the principles of complex systems science and develops an agent-based model that simulates the structures and dynamics involved at the individual, relationship, and community levels in the complex phenomena of child maltreatment. The developed model will allow us to simulate the impact of various preventive strategies when applied across the social ecology on the long term rates of child maltreatment. Through this process we intend to convene key stakeholders in child maltreatment prevention (policy makers, practitioners, and researchers) to interact with the developed model in a “learning lab” environment to accelerate knowledge acquisition, identify previous underutilized and unknown points of leverage in the system, and conduct simulated experiments on these factors. The ultimate goal is to advance the child maltreatment prevention field in moving to a state of identifying and applying actual preventive strategies at the community level.