Child Abuse and Neglect Among Iranian High School Students

Background: Millions of children and families suffer from child abuse worldwide. Objectives: This study aimed to investigate the related variables for different types of child abuse and their perpetrators. Methods: This was a cross-sectional study that was conducted on high school students in Hamadan, Iran in 2016. Samples were selected by multiple cluster sampling method in which 571 students were enrolled in the study. A standard, valid and reliable self-reported questionnaire was used for recording child abuse and another part for demographic variables and perpetrators of child abuse (including: parents or other relatives, teachers, friends or classmates, strangers). After data collection, SPSS V. 21 software was used for data analysis. All P values less than 0.05 were considered as significant. Results: The most common types of neglect were students' discomfort and lack of welfare at home (51.0%), attention ignorance to students' demands (46.6%), and parent’s excessive expectations (39.2%). In physical abuse domain, corporal punishment conducing abrasion and burns scare (51.8%) was in top of the list and the most common forms of psychological abuse were parent’s strict behaviors (25.7%), insulting and disrespecting the students (25.4%) and humiliation of them (24.9%). Psychological and physical abuse in girls and private schools were significantly higher than others (P < 0.001). There was significant relationship between psychological abuse and smoking or substance experience in adolescents (P < 0.001). Addicted and low educated parents were reported as perpetrators for all kinds of abuse. Conclusions: Understanding related variables and perpetrators of child abuse could raise the society perspectives about the importance of the subject and help decision makers for intervention programming aimed at reducing child abuse.