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The tip of the iceberg. Incidence of disclosed cases of child sexual abuse in Switzerland: results from a nationwide agency survey


Maier, Thomas; Mohler-Kuo, Meichun; Landolt, Markus A; Schnyder, Ulrich; Jud, Andreas (2013). The tip of the iceberg. Incidence of disclosed cases of child sexual abuse in Switzerland: results from a nationwide agency survey. International Journal of Public Health, 58(6):875-883.

Abstract

OBJECTIVES: Child sexual abuse (CSA) is considered a major risk factor for a variety of health problems both in childhood and in later adult life. While population-based surveys aim to establish the real incidence rates of CSA by interviewing potential (past) victims, agency surveys focus on the rates of CSA reported to the authorities. METHODS: We conducted a nationwide agency survey of CSA in Switzerland. Data were collected from 350 agencies through an anonymous online form during a 6-month period. For data collection, we used a modified version of the case reporting form translated from the American National Incidence Study (NIS-4). RESULTS: About 2.68 cases of CSA per 1,000 children per year are disclosed to agencies (1.11 in males, 4.33 in females). This is roughly twice the average incidence rate reported in methodologically similar studies from Canada, the US, and Australia. CONCLUSIONS: In Switzerland, the majority of disclosed cases of CSA are handled by specialized yet semi-public agencies instead of public child welfare agencies or penal authorities. This fact might explain the higher disclosure rates.

Abstract

OBJECTIVES: Child sexual abuse (CSA) is considered a major risk factor for a variety of health problems both in childhood and in later adult life. While population-based surveys aim to establish the real incidence rates of CSA by interviewing potential (past) victims, agency surveys focus on the rates of CSA reported to the authorities. METHODS: We conducted a nationwide agency survey of CSA in Switzerland. Data were collected from 350 agencies through an anonymous online form during a 6-month period. For data collection, we used a modified version of the case reporting form translated from the American National Incidence Study (NIS-4). RESULTS: About 2.68 cases of CSA per 1,000 children per year are disclosed to agencies (1.11 in males, 4.33 in females). This is roughly twice the average incidence rate reported in methodologically similar studies from Canada, the US, and Australia. CONCLUSIONS: In Switzerland, the majority of disclosed cases of CSA are handled by specialized yet semi-public agencies instead of public child welfare agencies or penal authorities. This fact might explain the higher disclosure rates.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:04 Faculty of Medicine > University Children's Hospital Zurich > Medical Clinic
04 Faculty of Medicine > University Hospital Zurich > Klinik für Konsiliarpsychiatrie und Psychosomatik
Dewey Decimal Classification:610 Medicine & health
Language:English
Date:2013
Deposited On:16 Aug 2013 14:50
Last Modified:16 Feb 2018 17:58
Publisher:Birkhäuser
ISSN:1661-8556
Additional Information:The final publication is available at link.springer.com
OA Status:Green
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1007/s00038-013-0498-6
PubMed ID:23884375

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