ACElife – Adverse Childhood Experiences in the life course

ACElife produces longitudinal register-based research on the characteristics of adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) and how they impact individuals’ later lives, a broad evaluation of the effectiveness of current practices and services aimed at preventing ACEs and mitigating their negative effects, and an evaluation on how different forms of child maltreatment are identified in service systems. The main objective of the project is to ensure equal future opportunities for children with adverse childhood experiences. The project is funded by the Strategic Research Council (SRC) established by the Academy of Finland. The project’s website:

On-going dissertations

Sanna Laine: Experiences of parental emotional abuse in childhood, and later relationships between three generations

This dissertation explores parents’ experiences of emotional abuse in their childhood and later relationships between three generations; grandparents, parents and children. The aim of the dissertation is to provide an overview of what kind of situations and interaction in childhood have been experienced as parental emotional abuse. Furthermore, the dissertation increases understanding about how intergenerational relationships between three generations reflect emotional abuse experienced by the parents in their childhood, and how the parents try to influence these relationships.


Tiina Malin: Regional sentencing consistency in Finland

The dissertation project explores consistency of sentencing in Finland with both quantitative and qualitative data. First article will focus on regional disparities in the aggravation assessment of child sexual abuse in Finnish district courts. The data used in this article is based on judgment documents that were coded into numerical data.


Laura MielityinenThe intergenerational cycle of physical violence in families

The purpose of this dissertation is to explore the occurrence and causes of intergenerational physical violence in families by combining qualitative and quantitative research. The study uses population level register and survey data together with essay and interview data. The aim is to generate new and unique information on the prevalence of intergenerational physical violence and the factors associated with it. The information can be used in preventive strategy work, the development of practical services and the enhancement of social and economic solutions, and the results will be an important step towards tackling the intergenerational cycle of physical violence.


Mari Fadjukoff: Interagency collaboration and institutional boundaries in the context of suspected child abuse

This doctoral thesis examines institutional boundaries between child protection and legal processes and interprofessional collaboration with cases of suspected child abuse. The study is based on register-based data and interviews of professionals working with child abuse.


Sari Hautamäki: Association between substance use and child sexual abuse victimization

The dissertation investigates substance use as a risk factor for child sexual abuse. The research generates new information about the dynamics between substance use and sexual violence, as well as the effects of third variables such as mental health challenges and intoxication during the event on this association. Additionally, the research aims to determine whether risk factors for child sexual abuse, including substance use, have changed over the past decade. The study seeks to comprehend children’s experiences of sexual violence from their perspective, and to highlight children’s own definitions of these phenomena.


Completed projects


LASTA-screening model as a tool for clarifying criminal suspicions of violence against children

Suspicion of violence against a child is a situation that requires multidisciplinary and cross-sectoral cooperation. LASTA-screening model was created in Finland to address these needs and to advance multidisciplinary cooperation and is a part of tracing out criminal suspicions of violence against children. Purpose of the model is to ensure the information exchange and multidisciplinary cooperation between authorities and to further care and support of the children.

This project depicts the current state of LASTA-screening model, assesses its effectiveness on the length of preliminary investigation in criminal suspicion regarding violence against children. The project also examines the practicality of the model as a tool for multidisciplinary cooperation by considering experiences of the professionals working with the LASTA-screening model.

The final report of the project can be read here:

PI: Noora Ellonen (

National Child Victim Survey

Based on the National Child Strategy, 30 individual actions has been prepared to promote the realization of the rights of the child in Finland. One of those actions is to implement the Child Victim Survey, which purpose is to strengthen the work against child abuse.

The Child Victim Survey is a survey for children and young people based on a nationally representative sample, which extensively examines the experiences of children and young people in different areas of life and living environments. The actual Child Victim Survey was last implemented in 2013 when about 11 300 6th and 9th graders answered the survey. Since then, the actual survey has not been conducted, but the phenomenon has been studied under the School Health Promotion study by Finnish Institute of Health and Welfare.

The Child Victim Survey provides basic information on violence against children which is needed to reduce the phenomenon and to improve related government activities. The Child Victim Survey has provided vital information not only for researchers but also for professionals working with children and young people in different fields. The Child Victim Survey was conducted in the Spring 2022 in about 600 schools across Finland.

The final report can be read here:

PI: Noora Ellonen (

Consent and objection in child welfare decision-making

The project explores the parallel existence and use of voluntary and involuntary care orders in Finland by examining how consent and objection are expressed, acquired and interpreted in child welfare decision-making. As care order in both types means a restriction of child’s and/or a parent’s fundamental and human rights, one may ask on what terms, if any, it is legitimate to consent to such a restriction and to request such consent. These two types of care order are analyzed and compared by their features as socio-legal entities, influenced by the institutions of law and social work, and practiced in interaction with children and families.

PI: Tarja Pösö (

Refugees Well School

Psychosocial support for young immigrants at school (“Refugees Well School”, RWS) is an intervention and research project aimed at promoting the well-being of young people and helping them to find their own resources. The project provided schools with psychosocial interventions to promote multicultural partnerships, student cohesion and well-being, and home-school collaboration,  as a part of the EU-Horizon 2020 collaboration (

PI: Raija-Leena Punamäki, co-PI: Kirsi Peltonen

Doctoral dissertations

Tuuli Lamponen: Decision-making of emergency placement as a social worker’s everyday work task

The PhD study examines social workers’ decision-making in the situations of emergency placement where the child is in immediate danger. Emergency removal can be defined as a public authority intervention to the family sphere and to clients’ self-determination, as the decision of emergency removal does not require consent of the child or parents. The dissertation can be read here:


Collaborating research networks and projects

Trauma and children — Effective Ways of Help

Children, Families and Child Welfare Research Group