Causes and consequences of violence against child labour and women in developing countries

University dissertation from Stockholm : Karolinska Institutet, Department of Public Health Sciences

Abstract: Violence against children and women is a serious public health and human rights problem. In low income countries it is closely related to poverty and culture with major social consequences and economic burden for the families. The overall objective was to study the specific circumstances of domestic violence, including the child labour s situation and to develop a cost of violence model adjusted for the burden of families. The studies were performed in four countries. In the first study violent behaviour was analysed among 1,400 child labourers divided into fourteen categories of work in five states of India (Paper I). In the short term perspective child labourers become violent, aggressive, and criminal, following a pyramid of violent behaviour, including cultural deviance, and socio-economic and psychological pressure. When considering family history, it seems that the problem is part of a vicious cycle of violence, which persists through generations and evolves through financial crisis, early marriage, and violence in the family. Of interest was also the problem of maternal abuse of children and mothers exposure to and attitudes towards intimate partner violence (Paper II). Nationally representative data of 14,016 married women from the Egyptian Demographic and Health Survey of 2005 were used. Less exposure to physical IPV was associated with lower risk of using violent methods, such as shouting, striking, or slapping, to correct child behaviour. Non-tolerant attitudes towards IPV were also associated with using the explanation method to the children. The current situation of domestic violence against women in rural Bangladesh was studied using a cross sectional household survey of 4,411 married women (Paper III). Illiteracy, alcoholic misuse, dowry, husband s monetary greed from parent-in laws and wife s doubt on husband s extra marital affairs were the risk factors for verbal, physical and sustenance abuse. The social inequalities in intimate partner violence (IPV) was scrutinised in Kenya among 3,696 women of reproductive age (Paper IV). The data were collected from the Kenyan demographic and health survey of 2003. Women s employment and having a higher education/occupational status than her partner, age differences between the partners, illiteracy, lack of autonomy and access to information increased their exposure to IPV. A cost of injury study based on an adjusted model for low-income countries was tested using case studies in India (Paper V). The model comprised 32 cost elements divided into four main categories: injury, death, deprivation and other costs including encompassing and socioeconomic data and family characteristics. The main cost elements were income adjusted by family and years, income impact on the family, costs of physical, psychosocial and family deprivations, and a cardinal approach to productivity loss. As a result of the case studies, the supplementary variables contributed to a better understanding of the total burden of families. Poverty, illiteracy, male dominancy in resource control and social acceptance of violence make children and women more vulnerable to violence. The problem persists over generations and results in an economic burden on the families for healthcare and disability. The studies confirm the need for long term local safety promotion programs supported by national policy and legislation addressing the most vulnerable groups in developing countries.

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