Child Maltreatment in Québec: Findings from the Incidence Study of 1998
Objectives: To present key findings from the Quebec Incidence Study of reported child maltreatment in terms of their incidence rates, characteristics and recurrence. Method: A survey conducted in 16 of the 18 service areas across Quebec tracked 86% of child maltreatment investigations conducted during the months of October to December 1998, which produced a sample of 4,934 investigated reports of child maltreatment. Information was collected directly from case workers who investigated the children’s and family’s background, the perpetrator characteristics, severity and types of maltreatment. Results: The highest incidence rates of both investigated and substantiated reports (7.3 and 5.1 per 1000 children respectively) were found for neglect. Differences were found in incidence rates according to age and gender. Girls were more often sexually abused than boys who were in turn slightly more often physically abused and neglected than girls. Twenty-nine percent (29%) of children reported more than one type of maltreatment and at least 28% of children had recurrent investigated reports during the survey period. Mothers were the most frequently reported perpetrators for all types of maltreatment except for sexual abuse, where the perpetrators were predominantly the fathers and stepfathers. Results also revealed that between 15% and 33% of the children were living with a parent who was also abused as a child. The percentage varies according to the type of maltreatment. Conclusions: The QIS provides much needed information for developing a better understanding of the profiles and needs of children and families investigated by child welfare authorities in Quebec. Results highlight the importance of neglect among maltreated children as well as the recurrence of reports.