A systematic review of research on child maltreatment in the East Asia and Pacific Region

  • Fry, Deborah (Principal Investigator)
  • McCoy, Amalee (Co-investigator)
  • Swales, Diane (Co-investigator)

Project Details


This systematic review is the first-ever comprehensive analysis of existing studies undertaken by experts and academics about child maltreatment in the East Asia and Pacific region.  It examines studies produced between January 2000 and November 2010. The study utilised a systematic review methodology to examine 365 peer-reviewed and grey literature research studies from the East Asia and Pacific Region on the prevalence and incidence of child physical abuse, sexual abuse, emotional abuse, neglect, exploitation, witnessing family violence and peer-to-peer violence as well as the consequences of child maltreatment in the region. This review is informing a prevalence and attributable fractions review that will estimate the burden and consequences of child maltreatment in the region and will be used by UNICEF as part of a package of evidence in order to advocate with and to inform governments in the region on the scale and nature of child maltreatment; the costs incurred by it; and ultimately, how to resource such systems and target interventions effectively.

Layman's description

A systematic review of literature showing the prevalence, incidence and consequences of abuse and maltreatment of children in the East Asia and Pacific Region to underpin further research and UNICEF’s work with governments in the region.

Key findings

"Estimates of the frequency of physical abuse of children vary from country to country and from study to study, but the report found that even the best case scenario suggests 1 in 10 children experience physical abuse, while the worst case finds that some 30.3 per cent of children suffering abuse. The prevalence of severe physical abuse ranges from nine per cent to nearly one in four children in the region, according to the studies. Severe physical abuse includes beatings, including those inflicted by fists or implements, which result in physical injury. Among other findings, the review reveals that between 14% and 30% of the region’s boys and girls report experiencing forced sex, and for many young people their first experiences of sexual intercourse is forced. The damage to children caused by sexual and physical abuse is often very serious and lifelong. The study finds that children who are abused, neglected, exploited or experience violence are more likely to be depressed and experience other types of mental health problems, to think about or attempt suicide, to have more physical symptoms (both medically explained and unexplained), and to engage in more high-risk behaviours than their non-abused counterparts. It also finds that children who have been victimized more than once are far more likely to experience serious long-term consequences – the impact of abuse is cumulative."
Effective start/end date1/01/1031/12/11


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