Child physical and sexual abuse in a community sample of young adults: Results from the Ontario Child Health Study

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Child Abuse & Neglect, 37(1), 14-21.

Child maltreatment is increasingly recognized as a major public health problem; however, despite the identification there is little community-based information about the determinants of child maltreatment in Canada. This study utilized secondary data analysis to identify prevalence and risk factors for physical and sexual abuse of children living in Ontario. The Ontario Child Health Study (OCHS) is a province wide longitudinal study that included participants between the ages of four to 35 years. The study consisted of three waves of data collection; childhood maltreatment was measured during the final wave. Measures included sociodemographic status, family, and child characteristics. A two-level logistic regression model was utilized to analyze the data, where children (n=1893) were nested within families (n=1253). Results suggest that within multiple-child households, there was increased risk of another child being exposed to physical abuse, severe physical abuse, and sexual abuse, if one child reported such experiences. Further, experiences of physical and severe physical abuse were associated with living in poverty, urban residence, parental adversity, child psychiatric disorder, and young maternal age at the time of the child’s first birth. Child sexual abuse was associated with living in poverty, living in an urban residence, being female, age (older childhood), and young maternal age at the time of the child’s first birth.

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Province / Territory
Canadian CW research
Journal article