DOI: 10.1155/2023/2638746 ISSN: 1534-8687

Breaking the Silence: Investigating the Prevalence and Key Risk Factors of Child Maltreatment among Male Working Children in a Rural Community in Bangladesh

Md Atiqul Haque, Zubaier Ahmed Ratan, Afifa Anjum, Khandakar Fatema, Saidur Rahman Mashreky, Syed Moniruzzaman
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Social Psychology

Introduction. Child labor is widely regarded as one of the most severe forms of child maltreatment (CM), but little is known about how working children, especially in low-income countries like Bangladesh, experience different forms of CM. This paper explores the extent of physical, psychological, and sexual abuse and neglect experienced by working children and determines the important risk factors for these forms of CM among them. Methods. This cross-sectional study included 398 working children from four local Bazars (rural marketplace) of Raiganj Upazila, Sirajganj district, who were enrolled in this study in March and April of 2017, through a snowball approach, due to a lack of a list of working children. The International Child Abuse Screening Tools for Children (ICAST-C) was used to estimate the different forms of CM in this study. Results. Lifetime prevalence of psychological abuse (PsyA), physical abuse (PA), neglect, and sexual abuse (SA) were 100%, 100%, 82.7%, and 13.5%, while the past year prevalence rates were 100%, 84.2%, 67.1%, and 9.9%, respectively. Common forms of PsyA experienced by children include shouting, yelling, or screaming, as well as restrictions on outings and time-outs. PA typically involves slapping on the face or head, hitting with objects (excluding the buttocks), and ear twisting. Watching pornography is the primary form of SA, while the leading form of neglect is unmet medical needs. The prevalence of PsyA, PA, SA, and neglect was higher among children who lived with individuals other than their parents. Both PsyA and PA were found to be associated with family violence, such as the presence of weapons in the household and adults engaging in frightening screaming behavior. Additionally, children who were bullied by their siblings, had a parent with a primary level of education or less, and always felt safe at home were at an increased risk of experiencing PA. Children who did not feel safe at home all the time were more likely to experience SA. Furthermore, for every one-year increase in schooling, the likelihood of experiencing neglect decreased by 8.3% (B: -.157, P value < .003). Conclusion. Nearly all male working children in rural areas of Bangladesh experienced PsyA and PA, and adult negligence was also prevalent. Although male SA is not a widely discussed issue in Bangladesh, the results of this study are alarming.

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