Prevalence of physical abuse in childhood and exposure to parental violence in a Brazilian sample

The aim of this study was to investigate the prevalence of physical abuse and exposure to parental violence during childhood, in relation to socio-demographic characteristics. Multi-stage sampling was used to select 3,007 individuals 14 years or older in 2005-2006, from all regions of the country. The study detected cases of physical abuse (beating, striking with objects, burning or scalding, threatening and/or using knives or firearms) and exposure to parental violence (witnessing parental threats and/or actual physical aggression) during childhood. Analyses were performed with the Pearson chi-square test. Prevalence of history of physical abuse in childhood was 44.1% (33.8% moderate, 10.3% severe). Prevalence of exposure to parental violence was 26.1% (7.5% witnessed moderate parental violence and 18.6% severe). Combined analyses of these two types of violence showed significant associations between them. The findings may help implement intervention strategies to call the attention of health professionals to the high prevalence of this type of violence.

Domestic Violence; Child Abuse; Parents

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