Prevalence of Childhood Physical Abuse in Albania

Gentiana Qirjako, Genc Burazeri, Erka Amursi

Abstract


We aimed to describe the magnitude of physical abuse during childhood in a representative sample of young adults selected from public universities in Albania, and to identify relationship between socioeconomic characteristics and behavioural/lifestyle factors associated with adverse childhood experiences (ACE). This survey was conducted in a representative sample of young adults (N=1437) selected from public universities [971 females (67.6%) and 466 males (32.4%). The data collection consisted of an anonymous and self-administered structured questionnaire. The prevalence of childhood physical abuse in this student population was 42%. There was no statistically significant sex-difference in self-reported rates of physical abuse. Rural residence was strongly positively associated with students’ experience of violence (P=0.041), a finding not evident for place of birth. Parental education was strongly, inversely, and linearly associated with experienced violence. As for the lifestyle/behavioural determinants the association of students’ physical abuse with lifetime sexual intercourse was remarkable high (OR=74.6, 95%CI=48.5-114.9, P<0.001). Also, having more than 3 sexual partners was significantly and positively associated with students’ physical abuse (P<0.009). Rates of self-reported emotional abuse during the first 18 years of life were significantly higher among students who had experienced physical abuse (P<0.001). Similarly, there was a positive graded relationship of student’s having experienced physical abuse with the occurrence and frequency of both bullying and physical fights during their first 18 years of life. Of particular importance, the findings of this study conducted in Albania show that appropriate strategies are needed for the prevention of child maltreatment in Albania. Child abuse is a worldwide problem, with a huge impact and serious physical and mental impact in their health. According WHO, every year millions of children are victims of non-fatal abuse and neglect. Different international studies have shown that, depending on the country, between a quarter and a half of all children report severe and frequent physical abuse, which includes being beaten, kicked or tied up by parents (Buchart A., at al, 2006). A UNICEF report published in 2010 states that 52% of children aged 2-14 in Albania experienced violent discipline (physical punishment and/or psychological aggression) in 2005-2006. Half of children experienced physical punishment while a much smaller percentage (6%) of mothers and caregivers thought that physical punishment was necessary in childrearing (UNICEF, 2010). Much physical violence against children is inflicted as a punishment and is accepted by parents, prevailing social norms and even often by law as a correct means of discipline. Only 33 states have actually abolished parental corporal punishment together with other forms of corporal punishment. Albania is part of them from the year 2010.

DOI: 10.5901/jesr.2014.v4n4p172


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Journal of Educational and Social Research ISSN 2239-978X(Print) ISSN 2240-0524(Online)

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