Economic crisis and child maltreatment in Spain: the consequences of the recession in the child protection system

Xavier Montagud Mayor - Journal of Children's Services



This study aims to examine the consequences of the last great recession on the child protection system (CPS) in Spain, to estimate whether there is any kind of relationship between the conditions of socio-economic crisis and its protective activity.


Data on child protection legal measures issued by the CPS and socio-economic data from 8 of the 17 regions of the country were cross-checked. Using the chi-square test, it was possible to determine the significance and intensity of the relationship between the different variables in each of the regions of the study.


During the crisis, the number of recorded cases fell most sharply in those regions with the worst socio-economic indicators. The study shows that there is a significant relationship between the socio-economic conditions of the regions and families and the activity of the CPS in each of them, so that the worsening of the former reduces the protective activity of their protection system.

Practical implications

The results ask about the influence of the socioeconomic situation in the decision-making of the CPS in Spain and the need to deepen in its study.


To the best of the author’s knowledge, this is the first longitudinal study on the effects of the economic crisis on CPS activity in Spain.