The Co-Occurrence of Child Abuse and Domestic Violence: An Issue of Service Delivery for Social Service Professionals

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Child Abuse, Family Violence, Domestic Violence


In order to add to the growing literature on intergenerational rates of family violence, data were collected from a community-based child abuse agency. The study's purpose was to compare the co-occurrence of child abuse/neglect (CAN) and domestic violence (DV), and the prevalence of CAN and parent's childhood history of abuse. Data were collected from 537 families through intake and subsequent interviews in an attempt to determine the relationship among CAN and DV, and CAN and parent's childhood history of abuse. A chi-square analysis indicated significant relationships among these variables. Of the participants in this sample, 48.9% had experienced both CAN and DV. These results also indicated that 66.3% of participants had a childhood history of CAN and were currently experiencing issues of CAN with their own children. Logistic regression was utilized to examine whether families involved with Child Protective Services (CPS) were at higher risk for DV and/or parental childhood history of CAN. The results indicate that CPS-involved families were approximately three times as likely to have a parent reporting a childhood history of CAN but were not at significantly higher odds for DV. Implications for service delivery are discussed.

Published In

Child and Adolescent Social Work Journal