Prevalence and risk factors of child victimization in China

by Tingting Liu

Institution: University of Hong Kong
Degree: PhD
Year: 2012
Keywords: Abused children - China.; Abused children - Services for - China.; Children - Crimes against - China.; Child abuse - China.
Record ID: 1157823
Full text PDF: http://dx.doi.org/10.5353/th_b4784952


Children are among the most vulnerable to violence. A global problem, child victimization has been extensively studied in the context of public health research. As negative consequences of victimization are demonstrated, estimation of its prevalence and identification of its risk factors are two major concerns of researchers. Intimate partner violence (IPV), a worldwide prevalent family problem in itself, is directly or indirectly demonstrated in association with risk of different child victimizations. However, majority of previous studies on child victimization were fragmented into clusters that center on specific forms of victimization, primarily those involving conventional crime, maltreatment, peer and sibling abuse, sexual violence, and witnessing of violence. Efforts for assessing complete pattern of victimization in children emerged only in recent years. Nevertheless, this initial development that has clear research gaps is far from being enough. In such a context, the present study was conducted, in a comprehensive perspective, to uncover pattern and prevalence, and to identify risk factors of child victimization in the Chinese context. IPV was particularly examined on its relationship with child victimization. The ecological theory and family systems theory were integrated to build the conceptual research framework, a family-based ecological model comprising levels of individual, family, community, and social culture. This study adopts a quantitative approach. Questionnaire survey was successfully conducted among 953 parents of children aged 0-17 years old in Wuhan, China. The respondents were identified through a four-stage stratified sampling method. For the sake of ethical consideration and research requirement, child victimization cases were reported by the parents. The Juvenile Victimization Questionnaire (JVQ) was employed for measuring child victimization. Approximately one in two children was reported having victimization. Of these victims, the proportion of those who suffered from two or more types of victimization was as high as half; children whose parents reported IPV accounted for one-third. Through multiple logistic regression analyses, the hypothesis that prior victimization can increase the risk of other victimizations was confirmed. A series of factors in the ecological model, including IPV, were identified to have association with child victimization. All the ecological factors were further examined using a structured multiphase logistic regression analysis. The results of two regression models were compared. The factors identified to be associated with the risk of child victimization involve all four levels of the ecological model. The finding suggests that occurrence of child victimization and IPV are associated and share common risk factors in the family-based ecological system. The findings emphasize the necessity of a comprehensive screening for child victimization, and highlight cooperation between services for partners and for children. The implications also include the application…