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Comprehensive Neighborhood Mapping: Developing a Powerful Tool for Child Protection

NCJ Number
Child Abuse Review Volume: 11 Issue: 4 Dated: July/August 2002 Pages: 214-229
Sarah Nelson; Norma Baldwin
Margaret A. Lynch, David Gough
Date Published
July 2002
16 pages
This article reviews the potential plan for “comprehensive neighborhood mapping” (CNM) in protecting children or young people and promoting safer neighborhoods.
Developed by Sarah Nelson and based on Norma Baldwin’s work in promoting safer neighborhoods in disadvantaged areas, “comprehensive neighborhood mapping” (CNM) is a technique or plan proposed for imaginatively gathering and interpreting information relevant to young people’s safety within a given geographical area, linking information obtained by local authorities and health authorities on a range of community development purposes. It consists of a coordinated series of mapping exercises which gather information on risky places, people, situations, and activities, and on safer places, people, situations, and activities. The paper begins with a description of CNM and the types of questions to ask in a neighborhood mapping exercise. It then offers practical illustration through describing eight potential components of CNM, such as demographic data, physical environment, group behavior, sexual activity and services, and area activities available to youth. Initially developed for urban areas of disadvantaged children, CNM can be applied to wealthier urban areas or even rural areas with the ability to add additional components that are relevant. Even though this paper is concerned with the principles and scope of CNM, not specifically with the mechanics for establishing a project, it was important to identify a few key considerations about the process, such as the overall policy and structures for child protection, problems to be addressed, the appropriate geographical boundary and population size, and confidentiality, publicity, and surveillance. CNM is a project where young people can direct their enthusiasm and local adults their concern in positive partnerships with agencies to create conditions of well-being for their young people. References