The purposes of this study were to: (1) Assess child abuse professionals' and nonprofessionals' knowledge of scientific research findings that are relevant to forensic child sexual abuse (CSA) evaluations and (2) describe associations between child abuse professionals' levels of research knowledge and their education and experience. An 18-item multiple-choice test was administered to 188 child abuse professionals and 457 nonprofessionals (undergraduate college students) in Brazil and the United States. The nonprofessionals' average percent correct, M=44%, was not significantly different than what would be expected for random guessing (45%). The professionals' average percent correct, M=55%, was higher than that of nonprofessionals and random guessing (both ps<.001). The average percent correct score for the US-sample psychologists, M=76%, was higher than the average score of the other professionals, M=51%, p<.001. Professionals' educational level, as measured by the highest academic degree obtained, was positively associated with percent correct scores, Spearman's ?=.46, p<.001. Controlling for educational attainment, professional experience, as measured by the total number of CSA evaluations performed, was weakly associated with percent correct scores, partial r=.15, p=.04. Percent correct scores were low for both nonprofessionals and professionals. Most of the participants in this study were uninformed or misinformed about scientific research findings that are important for conducting optimal forensic CSA evaluations and for making accurate judgments about the validity of sexual abuse allegations.
This study investigated associations of contextual variables of risk (stressful events and exposure to community violence), variables of protection (family environment, connectivity to the school and community perceptions) and demographic variables (gender and age) with indicators of psychosocial adjustment (self-esteem, involvement in illegal activities and alcohol use in past month) among adolescents. The participants were 685 students (61.5% girls) aged between 12 and 18 years (M = 15.10, SD = 1.52) of public schools in southern Brazil. They answered a questionnaire with 77 questions and an inventory for assessment of family relationships. Logistic regression analyses indicated that the negative perception of family environment, poor connectivity to the school and exposure to community violence were associated with low self-esteem. Involvement in illegal activities was associated with low connectivity to school, stressful events, exposure to community violence and male sex. Finally, alcohol use/month was associated with negative perception of the community, community violence, stressful events, and particularly at the ages of 15-16 years.
Violence is a serious public health problem and notification of incidents is fundamental for epidemic surveillance and for the definition of priorities and public politics of health prevention and promotion. The study sought to characterize the occurrence of domestic violence, sexual and other forms of violence, based on the information of the database of the Information System of Notification of Offences (Sinan), on the records of violence of the city of Belém in the state of Pará, in the period from January 2009 to December 2011. In this period 3,267 notifications were recorded, which represented an increase of 240% in the number of notifications of the year 2009 compared to 2011. In relation to the sex of the victims it was observed that, on average, 83.2% of cases against women and this proportion was similar in all three years analyzed. Sexual violence was the most prevalent with 41.8% of reported cases; followed by psychological violence at 26.3% and physical violence at 24%. The results show that notification is fundamental for understanding the profile of violence and for intervention and elaboration of integrated public politics that promote health and the quality of life in this area of Brazil.
This paper investigated the occurrence and impact of stressing events for 297 low- income children/adolescents (both sexes; 7-16 years, M =11.22; SD = 2.13) in the city of Porto Alegre. Group 1 (G1) consisted of 142 participants (living with their families) and Group 2 (G2) of 155 institutionalized individuals. All were individually interviewed and answered the Stressing Events Inventory for Children/Adolescents. The most frequent stressing events for the sample were: follow orders given by the parents (85.2%); quarrels with friends (72.9%); death of relatives (71.8%); failure at school (69.2%); and rivalry of siblings (68%). Students t-test revealed significant difference between groups (p <0,001) regarding the occurrence of stressing events, G2 presented higher scores (M = 26.79; SD = 8.67) than G1 (M = 19.16; SD = 9.37). The events that caused the greatest impact upon the studied group were: death of parents and friends, rape, rejection by relatives and violence. There was no significant difference between sexes (p>0.05). The high frequency and strong impact of stressing events reveal the situation of social and familiar vulnerability, presence of violence and lack of resources in the whole group.
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