Barnmisshandel ur barns och ungas perspektiv : Omfattning, hälsa, avslöjande och stöd

Sammanfattning: Child abuse is a major public health problem which is largely hidden in the society.The main aim of the thesis was to study child maltreatment from children’s and young people’s perspectives focusing on prevalence, health, disclosure and support.The thesis is based on four studies. Quantitative and qualitative data from three national surveys of child maltreatment, including children in different age groups and young adults, have been analysed.The results showed that child maltreatment is prevalent and there is a large degree of overlap between maltreatment types. Neglect and witnessing intimate partner violence were the types that overlapped most with other types of maltreatment. Child maltreatment was strongly associated to psychosomatic symptoms and impaired quality of life. Young people who have been victims of child maltreatment described the psychological consequences, such as painful memories, low self-esteem and depression. The psychological abuse was described as particularly detrimental. Victims of sexual abuse expressed feelings of shame and guilt. About half of the severely abused children did not disclose the abuse, mainly because of lack of trust in adults. Many children felt that they did not receive adequate support when they disclosed the maltreatment, particularly because they experienced a lack of child perspective among professionals. Children and young people experienced positive support from the school health services which they considered to have a particularly important role in the detection and support of maltreated children. The results emphasize an increased awareness among professionals to recognise and respond to child maltreatment.