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Study on Victims of Child Abuse: A Study Conducted in Two Teaching Hospitals in Sri Lanka

Authors:

L. S. Dharmadasa ,

Teaching Hospital, Anuradhapura, LK
About L. S.
Office of the Judicial Medical Officer
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I. D. G. Kithulwaththa,

University of Kelaniya, LK
About I. D. G.
Department of Forensic Medicine, Faculty of Medicine
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D. C. Priyanath,

Teaching Hospital, Karapitiya, LK
About D. C.
Office of the Judicial Medical Officer
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M. A. C. Gunathilaka,

University of Kelaniya, LK
About M. A. C.
Department of Forensic Medicine, Faculty of Medicine
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L. S. K. D. Silva,

University of Kelaniya, LK
About L. S. K. D.
Department of Forensic Medicine, Faculty of Medicine
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M. K. J. K. Kumari

University of Kelaniya, LK
About M. K. J. K.
Department of Forensic Medicine, Faculty of Medicine
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Abstract

Introduction: Child abuse is a global public health problem and proper intervention strategies need a greater understanding of risk factors that can contribute to it. This study was conducted in order to identify the undetected contributory factors that lead to child abuse cases.

 

Methodology: All children (less than 18 years of age) who were brought for medico legal examination with alleged abuse to two reputed teaching hospitals during a period of 1 and ½ years were included.  Required details were obtained through an interviewer administered questionnaire after obtaining the consent.

 

Results: Out of the 186 children, more than 80% presented following sexual abuse and the majority (n=173) were females.  Further, n=118 (75%) of the victims of child sexual abuse were between the age group of 13 to 15 years. Moreover, 75% of the victims of sexual abuse were from low income families. Parents of 100% of the victims of physical abuse and 60% of the victims of sexual abuse had educational qualifications below ordinary level.  82% of the victims of physical abuse were having dysfunctional family background, specially use of ethanol by parents (65%). Parental separation was the form of family dysfunction that was associated with sexual abuse. 

 

Conclusion: Poor income, poor parental education and dysfunctional family background could be identified as predisposing factors for child abuse. However, the association of these factors vary with different types of child abuse, thus preventive strategies should be planned accordingly.
How to Cite: Dharmadasa, L.S., Kithulwaththa, I.D.G., Priyanath, D.C., Gunathilaka, M.A.C., Silva, L.S.K.D. and Kumari, M.K.J.K., 2021. Study on Victims of Child Abuse: A Study Conducted in Two Teaching Hospitals in Sri Lanka. Medico-Legal Journal of Sri Lanka, 9(2), pp.1–6. DOI: http://doi.org/10.4038/mljsl.v9i2.7443
Published on 28 Dec 2021.
Peer Reviewed

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