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Journal Article


Subedi S, Davison C, Bartels S. Child Abuse Negl. 2020; 106: e104509.


Departments of Emergency Medicine and Public Health Sciences, Queens University, Kingston, Ontario, Canada.


(Copyright © 2020, Elsevier Publishing)






BACKGROUND: Child abuse is a public health and human rights issue that is prevalent worldwide. All forms of abuse against children can have negative physical and mental health consequences. Under post-disaster situations, where there is a potential for increased stress and decreased social support among caregivers, the risk of child abuse may be higher.

OBJECTIVE: To explore the association between earthquake-related losses (family-related and property-related) and the experience of emotional, physical, and severe physical child abuse in the household for children aged 2-14 in Haiti.

METHODS: A nationally representative sample of Haitian households from the 2012 Demographic and Health Survey (DHS) was used. Descriptive analyses were summarized using frequencies and measures of central tendency. Associations between earthquake-related loss and child abuse was assessed using log-binomial regression modelling.

RESULTS: Two years following the earthquake, and after considering potentially confounding variables, death of a household member was associated with a higher likelihood of a child being victim to emotional (RR = 1.11, 95 % CI: 1.05-1.17) and severe physical abuse (RR = 1.50, 95 % CI: 1.15-1.96). Conversely, injury of a household member was associated with a lower likelihood of a child experiencing emotional abuse (RR = 0.93, 95 % CI: 0.87-0.99).

CONCLUSIONS: There were associations between earthquake-related losses and some forms of child abuse; the results were not consistent across all exposures and outcomes. The high prevalence of reported child abuse indicates a need for interventions to reduce child abuse in homes overall. There is also need for further research into the aetiology and influences specific to different types of abuse.

Crown Copyright © 2020. Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Language: en


Child abuse; Emotional abuse; Haiti; Humanitarian crisis; Natural disasters; Physical abuse


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