A1 Journal article (refereed)
Children’s Disclosures of Physical Abuse in a Population-Based Sample (2020)

Lahtinen, H.-M., Laitila, A., Korkman, J., Ellonen, N., & Honkalampi, K. (2020). Children’s Disclosures of Physical Abuse in a Population-Based Sample. Journal of Interpersonal Violence, OnlineFirst. https://doi.org/10.1177/0886260520934443

JYU authors or editors

Publication details

All authors or editors: Lahtinen, Hanna-Mari; Laitila, Aarno; Korkman, Julia; Ellonen, Noora; Honkalampi, Kirsi

Journal or series: Journal of Interpersonal Violence

ISSN: 0886-2605

eISSN: 1552-6518

Publication year: 2020

Volume: OnlineFirst

Publisher: Sage Publications

Publication country: United States

Publication language: English

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1177/0886260520934443

Publication open access: Not open

Publication channel open access:

Publication is parallel published (JYX): https://jyx.jyu.fi/handle/123456789/73259


Few studies have explored the disclosure of child physical abuse although child sexual abuse disclosure has been widely studied and debated for years. The present study explores the characteristics of child physical abuse disclosures and compares them to previously published findings on child sexual abuse disclosure from the same data. The data consist of a representative sample of 11,364 sixth and ninth graders. Participants responded to a wide variety of questions concerning experiences of violence, including child physical abuse and child sexual abuse, in the Finnish Child Victim Survey conducted in 2013. Within this sample, the prevalence of child physical abuse was 4.1%. Children reporting abuse experiences also responded to questions regarding disclosure, reactions encountered during disclosure, and potential reasons for nondisclosure. Findings show that most of the children who disclosed physical violence had disclosed to their mother. The overall disclosure rate of child physical abuse was 74%. However, only 42% had disclosed to adults, and even fewer had reported their experiences to authorities (12%). The most common reason for nondisclosure was that the youth did not consider the experience sufficiently serious to report (53%). These findings were largely in line with the child sexual abuse disclosure rates in our previous study. Analyses of variables associated with disclosing to an adult indicate that the strongest factors predicting disclosure to an adult are younger age, female gender, no previous experiences of child physical abuse, and parents knowing who their child spends her or his spare time with. Implications for further research and practice are discussed.

Keywords: children (age groups); violence (activity); abuse; sexual abuse; population research

Free keywords: child physical abuse; child sexual abuse; disclosure; non-disclosure; disclosure rate

Contributing organizations

Ministry reporting: No, publication in press

Preliminary JUFO rating: 2

Last updated on 2021-17-09 at 16:47