n Child Abuse Research in South Africa - Intimate partner violence, mental problems and behavioural problems among pre-school children in Vhembe district, South Africa




The aim of this study was to assess intimate partner violence, mental problems and behavioural problems among 1.5 to 5 year old children in South Africa. In all 268 women (18 years and older), of which 86 with a pre-school child, consecutively receiving a protection order in the Vhembe district in South Africa were assessed by an external interviewer. Results indicate a prevalence of clinically relevant internalising, externalising and total behaviour problem scores of 16.3%, 14.0% and 13.3% among pre-school children. The intimate partner violence type sexual violence was positively correlated with all child behaviour outcomes (internalizing, Externalising, and Total problems). Intimate partner psychological abuse and physical violence as well as maternal PTSD and depressive symptoms did not relate to child behaviour. It is recommended to inform mothers of the potentially negative effects of intimate partner violence on their child's behaviour, followed with appropriate referrals.


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