Background In Mozambique, physical and sexual violence against children is common but poorly documented. Among others, little is known about the injuries children sustain, which this study will shed light on, comparing boys and girls and considering separately physical and sexual violence.
Methods This study was cross-sectional and based on the medical records of pediatric patients aged 0–14 years, who presented to the Maputo Central Hospital due to either inter-personal violence-related injuries at some point during 2019. A case report form was developed based on the WHO injury surveillance guideline. Gender differences by type of violence were assessed using the chi-squared test.
Results 329 cases were identified; sexual violence was by far the most frequent among girls (86.4%) and physical violence (66.2%), among boys. Most victims sustained multiple injuries (70.7%) but several were superficial. Girls had more severe injuries than boys (12.0% compared to 4.5%), above all to the genital area (66.4%); 11.4% required surgery. Boys were more injuries at all other body parts; they received more medical consultation with immediate discharge (75.4% compared to 59.2%).
Conclusion Our findings reveal expected associations between child sex and type of violence and type of injury.
Learning outcomes There is a need for more comprehensive research that promotes gender-sensitive injury care practice at the country level and violence prevention programs ensuring equitable investment in girls and boys equality.
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