Child Abuse: A Canadian Wake Up Call

by SO on April 23, 2014 - 10:19pm

In recent articles published online this week on popular Canadian websites like The Globe and Mail, The National Post, and CBC, a recent Canadian study was revealed. The study was conducted on 23,395 adult respondents in Canada among all provinces. The subject of interest was child abuse presence among Canadians and the future repercussions linked with the abuse. The consensus was surprising. Over 30% of women, and 34% of men have experienced child abuse. The abuse was divided into 3 categories: physical abuse, sexual abuse, and exposure to intimate partner violence. In every category but one, the men were subject to more child abuse experiences than the women. Care to guess in which category the women were more than double the men? Sexual abuse. Over 14% of women in Canada have been victim of sexual abuse as a child, compared to the 5,8% of men. 


What is most surprising is that of the three categories of abuse, sexual abuse is more common than exposure to intimate partner violence (10% and 8% respectively). If you have read some of my other posts, you know by now that I write mostly about youth and child abuse. This is why I focus this news summary more on the sexual abuse category of the study. 


Although it is impossible to draw a cause and effect conclusion from the study, the correlation between child abuse and mental illnesses is surprising. Respondents were often diagnosed with a mental disorder, a health condition, OCD (obsessive-compulsive disorder), PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder), an eating disorder, a phobia, a learning disability and in some cases the respondents had attempted suicide or gotten involved in drugs or other substances. 


In summary, we can pretty much say that child abuse affects every third person in Canada. Those odds are staggering. In addition, the odds of developing future mental health issues are highly correlated with the abuse. The report, which was well overdue in Canada, is a wake up call for us to start making changes in our society. Starting with awareness. Awareness is the first step to reducing child abuse. Now that we know it’s going on, it’s not just ‘someone else’s problems’. They’re our problems.


Original articles: 

Child abuse affects 1 in 3 Canadian adults, mental health study indicates

Author: CBC News


One-third of Canadians have suffered child abuse, highest rates in the western provinces, study says

Author: Sarah Boesveld, National Post



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