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Child and partner abuse: self reported prevalence and attitudes in the north of Portugal

Document type: Scientific Journal
Document language: English
Uploaded By: Mel McIntyre (melmcintyre)
Date Uploaded: 2012/02/10 12:24:10.501 GMT+1
Download: TEST Test_child abuse in portugal.pdf — PDF document, 127Kb
URL to a webpage or document based online: http://

Basic Information

Authors: Carla Machado, Miguel Goncalves, Marlene Matos, Ana Rita Dias
Journal Name/Article: Child abuse and neglect
Page numbers: 657-670
Volume: 31
Published on Date: 2007
Abstract:

Objectives: To determine the self-reported prevalence of child and partner physical and emotional abuse in the north of Portugal and to investigate attitudes about these forms of family violence. Methods: Data were collected by questionnaire from a representative sample of parents in two-parent families with children under the age of 18 years. A total of 2,391 parents participated (1,057 males), aged 20–67 years. Four questionnaires were used, one behavioral and one attitudinal, for each of the forms of abuse: child and partner. Results: At least one act of emotional or physical abuse towards a child during the previous year was reported by 25.9% of participants (12.3% reported physically abusive and 22.4% emotionally abusive acts). Abuse of a partner was reported by 26.2% of participants; at least one act of physical abuse during the previous year was reported by 12% and of emotional abuse by 23.7%. The attitudinal data, however, showed general disapproval of the use of violence, both for disciplining children and within marital relationships. The degree of self-reported support for physical punishment was higher in participants who reported using abusive behavior. Females more commonly reported acts of child abuse, and males reported acts of partner abuse. Both forms of self-reported abuse showed an association with low educational and socio-economic status. Conclusions: This is the first study in Portugal to analyze family violence through self-report using a representative sample. The findings indicate that child and partner abuse constitute a significant problem in the region of  northern Portugal. The discrepancy between the self-reported behavioral and attitudinal data may reflect conflicts in Portuguese society, which is undergoing substantial cultural changes.

To determine the self-reported prevalence of child and partner physical and emotional abuse in the north of Portugal and to investigate attitudes about these forms of family violence. Methods: Data were collected by questionnaire from a representative sample of parents in two-parent families with children under the age of 18 years. A total of 2,391 parents participated (1,057 males), aged 20–67 years. Four questionnaires were used, one behavioral and one attitudinal, for each of the forms of abuse: child and partner. Results: At least one act of emotional or physical abuse towards a child during the previous year was reported by 25.9% of participants (12.3% reported physically abusive and 22.4% emotionally abusive acts). Abuse of a partner was reported by 26.2% of participants; at least one act of physical abuse during the previous year was reported by 12% and of emotional abuse by 23.7%. The attitudinal data, however, showed general disapproval of the use of violence, both for disciplining children and within marital relationships. The degree of self-reported support for physical punishment was higher in participants who reported using abusive behavior. Females more commonly reported acts of child abuse, and males reported acts of partner abuse. Both forms of self-reported abuse showed an association with low educational and socio-economic status. Conclusions: This is the first study in Portugal to analyze family violence through self-report using a representative sample. The findings indicate that child and partner abuse constitute a significant problem in the region of  northern Portugal. The discrepancy between the self-reported behavioral and attitudinal data may reflect conflicts in Portuguese society, which is undergoing substantial cultural changes.

Riche Classification

Taxonomy:
Demography: All , First year of life: , 1-4 years , 5-9 years , 10-14 years , 15-18 years ,
Population Groups: Bullies , Bullied children ,
Child Related Topics: Research involving direct participation of children , Parental/guardian reporting about children , Parents , Violence against children ,
Health issues, determinants and measures: Abused children , Family health and relations , Safety , Violence and injury prevention , Domestic Life , Family health and relations ,
Languages and Geographical Perspective: Portugal , English ,
Study type / scale / state of progress / setting: Survey research , Province or Region , Completed and published , Professional research ,