Although child physical abuse is considered a major public health and social problem in Bangladesh, few studies have assessed the prevalence of multiple forms of child physical abuse.
This population-based study estimated the prevalence of child physical abuse by adult in rural Bangladesh and examined its association with demographic and socio-contextual factors of the children.
Data were mainly obtained by administering ISPCAN Child Abuse Screening Tool for Children (ICAST-C) from a random sample of 1416 children (49% female) aged 11 to 17 years by face-to-face interview during March -April in 2017 with a response rate of 91.5%. Physical abuse was categorized into ‘frequent (≥3 occurrences past year)’ and ‘less frequent to none’ and risk factors for the frequent category were estimated.
Prevalence of at least one form, two forms and three or more forms of child physical abuse were estimated approximately 99%, 95% and 83% in their lifetime and 93%, 79% and 57% in the past year respectively. Hitting (without buttock), standing/kneeling and slapping were the most common physical abuse whereas giving drugs/alcohol, pinched, burned/scalded, beat-up and locked-up reported minimum. Male children, younger age groups, witness of domestic violence with weapons, bullied by siblings and low maternal education were found significant risk factors for at least one form of ‘frequent’ physical violence, whereas male children, younger age groups, adult shouted in a frightening way, witnessed adults using weapons at home, bullied by siblings, low maternal education were found as significant risk factors for ≥2 forms of frequent child physical abuse.
Self-reported prevalence of child physical abuse was extremely common in Bangladeshi rural society. The prevalence was associated with demographic and socio-contextual characteristics of the children.
The findings provide empirical evidence to support public health professionals and policy-makers to take effective measure to reduce child physical abuse in Bangladesh.
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