Global prevalence of childhood exposure to physical violence within domestic and family relationships in the general population: A systematic review and proportional meta-analysis

Tyson Whitten, Stacy Tzoumakis, Melissa J Green, Kimberlie Dean

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)
103 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

Efforts to identify and prevent childhood exposure to physical violence within domestic and family relationships must be underpinned by reliable prevalence estimates to ensure the appropriate allocation of resources and benchmarks for assessing intervention efficacy. We conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis of the global prevalence of childhood exposure to physical domestic and family violence separately as a victim or witness. Searches were conducted in Criminal Justice Abstracts, Embase, Scopus, PubMed, PsychInfo, and Google Scholar. Studies were included if they were peer-reviewed, published in English, had a representative sample, unweighted estimates, and were published between January 2010 and December 2022. One-hundred-and-sixteen studies comprising 56 independent samples were retained. Proportional meta-analysis was conducted to calculate the pooled prevalence for each exposure. Pooled prevalence estimates were also stratified by region and sex. The global pooled prevalence of childhood exposure to physical domestic and family violence as a victim or witness was 17.3% and 16.5%, respectively. Prevalence estimates were highest in West Asia and Africa (victim = 42.8%; witness = 38.3%) and lowest for the Developed Asia Pacific region (victim = 3.7%; witness = 5.4%). Males were 25% more likely than females to be the victim of physical domestic and family violence during childhood, while both were equally likely to have witnessed it. These findings suggest that childhood exposure to domestic and family violence is relatively common, affecting around one-in-six people by 18 years of age globally. Regional variations in prevalence estimates may reflect underlying economic conditions, cultural norms, and service availability.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1411-1430
Number of pages20
JournalTrauma, Violence, and Abuse
Volume25
Issue number2
Early online date10 Jun 2023
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2024

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