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Child Physical Abuse: Characteristics, Prevalence, Health and Risk‐taking
Linköping University, Department of Clinical and Experimental Medicine, Child and Adolescent Psychiatry. Linköping University, Faculty of Health Sciences.
2011 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

The home is supposed to provide support and safety for children but can also be the place where children suffer abuse and other adverse treatment by their parents. Violence against children in homes has been banned in Sweden for more than 30 years but it is still a considerable problem in the society and a threat to public health. The overall aim of this thesis was to create comprehensive knowledge of the phenomenon Child Physical Abuse (CPA) in Sweden after the ban on corporal punishment. The focus has been on examining the characteristics of cases reported to the police as well as self-reported CPA, prevalence of CPA and finally associations between CPA and health-problems/risk-taking behaviors among adolescents.

Two samples are used in this thesis. The first comprises cases reported to the police during 11 years (n=142) in a Swedish police-district and the second is a population-based youth survey of the total number of pupils in three different school grades (13, 15 and 17 years old) in Södermanland County, Sweden.

Cases of severe abuse constituted 14 % of the total number of cases reported to the police. The main difference between the group of severe cases and the remaining was the higher occurrence of convictions in court in the severe cases and the pattern of reporting to the police. The severe cases were reported by agencies to a greater degree than minor cases. Cases of severe abuse were characterized by an accumulation of risk factors in different areas as perpetrator factors, stress- and strain factors, factors of insufficient social network and finally child-related factors.

In the cross-sectional study a prevalence of 15 % was found for self-reported CPA (n=8 494). There were associations between risk factors in different areas and abuse and there was a dos-response relationship between risks and reported abuse. It was shown that children who reported parental intimate-partner violence were at considerably higher risk for CPA than other children and that only 7 % of the children exposed to violence had disclosed this to authorities.

The study of associations between health and risk-taking behaviors, were performed among the 15 and 17 years old pupils (n=5 933). Associations with health-problems and risk-taking behaviors were shown and the associations became stronger when the pupils reported repeated abuse. Finally there was a cumulative effect of multiple abuse in the form of being exposed to child physical abuse plus other types of abuse (parental intimate partner violence, bullying and being forced to engage in sexual acts) and the associations increased with the number of concurrent abuse.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Linköping: Linköping University Electronic Press , 2011. , 93 p.
Series
Linköping University Medical Dissertations, ISSN 0345-0082 ; 1234
Keyword [en]
Child physical abuse; prevalence; risk factors; associations with health-problems and risk-taking behaviors; multiple abuse
National Category
Medical and Health Sciences
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-67222ISBN: 978‐91‐7393‐206‐6OAI: oai:DiVA.org:liu-67222DiVA: diva2:408354
Public defence
2011-04-29, Berzeliussalen, Universitetssjukhuset, Campus US, Linköpings universitet, Linköping, 13:00 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2011-04-04 Created: 2011-04-04 Last updated: 2011-04-04Bibliographically approved
List of papers
1. Severe child abuse: A study of cases reported to the police
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Severe child abuse: A study of cases reported to the police
2007 (English)In: Acta Paediatrica, ISSN 0803-5253, E-ISSN 1651-2227, Vol. 96, no 12, 1760-1764 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Aim: To investigate the characteristics of severe abuse of children and possible differences in comparison with less severe abuse. Method: Cases of abuse reported to the police within a single police district (n = 142) in Sweden were studied. The severe cases were compared to all the remaining cases. Results: Severe abuse constituted 14% of the total cases and was reported by agencies to a greater degree than minor cases. The suspected perpetrators were socially disadvantaged people in both groups. Half of the most serious cases led to conviction in the courts, compared to 8% in the reference group. The children who had been subjected to abuse were often already known to social services and reports of child abuse had frequently been made. Conclusion: In comparison between cases of severe and minor child abuse reported to the police, the results did not show any crucial differences except the pattern of reporting and a higher occurrence of prosecution/conviction in the severe cases. This finding places a responsibility on agencies outside of the justice system to consider all cases of reported abuse as serious warning signals and to make independent evaluations to identify risks and the possible need for child protection. © 2007 The Author(s).

National Category
Medical and Health Sciences
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-39543 (URN)10.1111/j.1651-2227.2007.00519.x (DOI)49586 (Local ID)49586 (Archive number)49586 (OAI)
Available from: 2009-10-10 Created: 2009-10-10 Last updated: 2011-04-04Bibliographically approved
2. Characteristic Features of Severe Child Physical Abuse-A Multi-informant Approach
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Characteristic Features of Severe Child Physical Abuse-A Multi-informant Approach
2010 (English)In: Journal of family Violence, ISSN 0885-7482, E-ISSN 1573-2851, Vol. 25, no 2, 165-172 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Minor child physical abuse has decreased in Sweden since 1979, when a law banning corporal punishment of children was passed, but more serious forms have not decreased. The aim of this study was to examine risk and background factors in cases of severe child abuse reported to the police. Files from different agencies (e.g., Social services, Adult and Child psychiatry and Pediatric clinic) for 20 children and 34 caretakers were studied. An accumulation of risk factors was found. It is concluded that when the following four factors are present, there is a risk for severe child abuse: 1) a person with a tendency to use violence in conflict situations; 2) a strong level of stress on the perpetrator and the family; 3) an insufficient social network that does not manage to protect the child; 4) a child that does not manage to protect him or herself. Thus, multiple sources of information must be used when investigating child abuse.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Springer, 2010
Keyword
Child physical abuse, Severe, Social services, Reports, Sweden
National Category
Medical and Health Sciences
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-53053 (URN)10.1007/s10896-009-9280-1 (DOI)
Note
The original publication is available at www.springerlink.com: Eva-Maria Annerbäck, Carl Göran Svedin and Per Gustafsson, Characteristic Features of Severe Child Physical Abuse-A Multi-informant Approach, 2010, JOURNAL OF FAMILY VIOLENCE, (25), 2, 165-172. http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10896-009-9280-1 Copyright: Springer Science Business Media http://www.springerlink.com/ Available from: 2010-01-15 Created: 2010-01-15 Last updated: 2011-04-04Bibliographically approved
3. Prevalence and characteristics of child physical abuse in Sweden - findings from a population-based youth survey
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Prevalence and characteristics of child physical abuse in Sweden - findings from a population-based youth survey
2010 (English)In: Acta Paediatrica, ISSN 0803-5253, E-ISSN 1651-2227, Vol. 99, no 8, 1229-1236 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Aim: To examine prevalence rates of child physical abuse perpetrated by a parent/caretaker, abuse characteristics and the extent of disclosures. Methods: A population-based survey was carried out in 2008 amongst all the pupils in three different grades (n = 8494) in schools in Sodermanland County, Sweden. The pupils were asked about their exposure to violence and their experiences of parental intimate-partner violence. Data were analysed with bi- and multivariate models and a comparison between means of accumulating risk factors between three groups were performed. Results: A total of 15.2% of the children reported that they had been hit. There were strong associations between abuse and risk factors and there was a dose-response relationship between risks and reported abuse. It was shown that children who reported parental intimate-partner violence were at a considerably higher risk for abuse than other children and that only 7% of the children exposed to violence had disclosed this to authorities. Conclusion: Even though child abuse in Sweden has decreased markedly during the last 40 years, violence against children is still a considerable problem. It is a challenge to develop methods of assessment and interventions that will ensure that the violence and its underlying causes are directly addressed.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Blackwell Publishing Ltd, 2010
Keyword
Child physical abuse; Prevalence; Risk factors; Parental intimate-partner violence; Sweden
National Category
Medical and Health Sciences
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-58283 (URN)10.1111/j.1651-2227.2010.01792.x (DOI)000279438000024 ()
Available from: 2010-08-10 Created: 2010-08-09 Last updated: 2013-09-03
4. Child Physical Abuse and concurrence of other types of Child Abuse: associations with health and risk behaviors
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Child Physical Abuse and concurrence of other types of Child Abuse: associations with health and risk behaviors
Show others...
2012 (English)In: International Journal of Child Abuse & Neglect, ISSN 0145-2134, E-ISSN 1873-7757, Vol. 36, no 7-8, 585-595 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Objective: To examine the associations between child physical abuse and health problems/risk-taking behaviors among teen-agers. Further to evaluate concurrence of other types of abuse and how these alone and in addition to child physical abuse were associated with bad health status and risk-taking behaviors.

Methods: A population-based survey was carried out in 2008 among all the pupils in two different grades (15 respectively 17 years old) in Södermanland County, Sweden (N=7 262). The response rate was 81.8 %. The pupils were asked among other things about their exposure to child physical abuse, exposure to parental intimate violence, bullying and exposure to being forced to engage in sexual acts. Adjusted analyses were conducted to estimate associations between exposure and illhealth/risk-taking behaviors.

Results: Child physical abuse was associated with poor health and risk-taking behaviors with adjusted Odds Ratios (OR) ranging from 1.6 to 6.2. The associations were stronger when the pupils reported repeated abuse with OR ranging from 2.0 to 13.2. Also experiencing parental intimate partner violence, bullying and being forced to engage in sexual acts was associated with poor health and risk-taking behaviors with the same graded relationship to repeated abuse. Finally there was a cumulative effect of multiple abuse in the form of being exposed to child physical abuse plus other types of abuse and the associations increase with the number of concurrent abuse.

Conclusions: This study provides strong indications that child abuse is a serious public health problem based on the clear links seen between abuse and poor health and behavioral problems. Consistent with other studies showing a graded relationship between experiences of abuse and poor health/risk-taking behaviors our study shows poorer outcomes for repeated and multiple abuse. Thus, our study calls for improvement of methods of comprehensive assessments, interventions and treatment in all settings where professionals meet young people.

National Category
Medical and Health Sciences
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-67219 (URN)10.1016/j.chiabu.2012.05.006 (DOI)000307913700004 ()
Available from: 2011-04-04 Created: 2011-04-04 Last updated: 2013-09-03Bibliographically approved

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