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Keywords:

  • Prevalence;
  • child abuse;
  • sexual;
  • adult survivors of child abuse;
  • health surveys

Abstract

Objective: A literature review on the incidence of different forms of child maltreatment revealed that rates in Australia and Quebec (Canada) were similar. This study sought to determine the prevalence and co-occurrence of various forms of violence (physical, sexual and psychological) and explore gender and age difference.

Methods: A telephone inquiry was conducted with a representative sample of 1,002 adults from the province of Quebec.

Results: More than one in three adults (37%) reported having experienced at least one of three forms of violence in childhood. Twelve per cent (12%) of the adults experienced two forms of violence while 4% of the respondents reported having experienced all three forms of violence in childhood. Psychological violence (22%) was the form most frequently reported, followed by physical violence (19%) and sexual violence (16%). The different prevalence rates did not vary as a function of age. However, regarding gender, women were more likely to report having been sexually victimised (rape and fondling) and less likely to report having experienced physical violence. A lower percentage of women reported having sustained no form of childhood victimisation and a higher percentage of women reported have experienced both sexual and psychological violence compared to men.

Conclusion: These results, including both the global rates and those particular to each gender, are comparable to findings in similar North American studies. The co-occurrence rates noted are salient enough to necessitate particular attention to diverse clinical clientele and need to be considered in future research exploring the risk factors of violence and its subsequent repercussions.