Factors associated with violence against children in low- and middle-income countries: A systematic review and meta-regression of nationally representative data

Ilan Cerna-Turoff, Zuyi Fang, Anne Meierkord, Zezhen Wu, Juan Yanguela, Clare Ahabwe Bangirana, Franziska Meinck

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Background:
This systematic review and meta-regression sought to identify the relative importance of factors associated with physical, emotional, and sexual violence against children in low- and middle-income countries. Understanding of factors associated with violence is important for targeted programming and prevention on the population level.

Methods:
We searched 17 electronic databases from 1989 to 2018 and reports from child violence surveys. Nationally representative studies that described evidence on potential factors associated with violence against children under 18 years old were included. The search was restricted to the English language. Factors were synthesized quantitatively using robust variance estimation, with 95% confidence intervals, for each violence type.

Results:
We identified 8,346 unduplicated studies, and 103 publications met our eligibility criteria. The data distribution was uneven across region, country income status, factors, and violence types. Of the 94 eligible studies quantitatively synthesized, no specific factors were significant for physical violence. Lower household socioeconomic status, being a girl, and primary education of mothers and adults in the household were associated with emotional violence, and being a girl was associated with sexual violence.

Conclusion:
A broad spectrum of factors merit consideration for physical violence policy and prevention among the general population of children in low- and middle-income countries. Conversely, a tailored approach may be warranted for preventing emotional and sexual violence. Information is unequally distributed across countries, factors, and violence types. Greater emphasis should be placed on collecting representative data on the general population and vulnerable subgroups to achieve national reductions in violence against children.
Original languageEnglish
JournalTrauma, Violence and Abuse
Early online date19 Jan 2021
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 19 Jan 2021

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