Child Maltreatment in the World: A Review Article

Authors

1 Ibn-e- Sina Hospital, Mashhad University of Medical Sciences, Mashhad, Iran.

2 Students Research Committee, Faculty of Medicine, Mashhad University of Medical Sciences, Mashhad, Iran.

3 Assistant Professor, Department of Pediatrics, Faculty of Medicine, Mashhad University of Medical Sciences, Mashhad, Iran.

4 Midwifery M.Sc., Instructor, Faculty of Nursing and Midwifery, Sabzevar University of Medical Sciences, Sabzevar, Iran.

5 Faculty Member, Department of Community Health and Psychiatric Nursing, School of Nursing and Midwifery, Mashhad University of Medical Sciences, Mashhad, Iran.

Abstract

Child abuse is a recognized public health and social problem worldwide. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), child abuse includes all forms of physical and/or emotional ill-treatment, sexual abuse, neglect and negligent treatment and exploitation. Child maltreatment is a global problem with serious life-long consequences. In spite of recent national surveys in several low- and middle-income countries, data from many countries are still lacking. Estimates of child maltreatment indicate that nearly a quarter of adults (22.6%) worldwide suffered physical abuse as a child, 36.3% experienced emotional abuse and 16.3% experienced physical neglect, with no significant differences between boys and girls. However, the lifetime prevalence rate of childhood sexual abuse indicates more marked differences by sex – 18% for girls and 7.6% for boys.  The lifelong consequences of child maltreatment include impaired physical and mental health, poorer school performance, and job and relationship difficulties. Ultimately, child maltreatment can contribute to slowing a country's economic and social development. We conclude that child maltreatment is a widespread, global phenomenon affecting the lives of millions of children all over the world, which is in sharp contrast with the United Nation's Convention on the Rights of the Child.

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