Child maltreatment polyvictimization: Rates and short-term effects on adjustment in a representative Hong Kong sample

Ko Ling Chan, Douglas A. Brownridge, Elise Yan, Daniel Y.T. Fong, Agnes Tiwari

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

52 Citations (Scopus)


Objective: This article examines the unique effects of multiple forms of victimization, namely child abuse and neglect (CAN) and exposure to parental intimate partner violence (IPV), on children's self-blame, feelings of being threatened, self-esteem, and ability to control anger. Method: The cross-sectional study recruited a population-based sample of 2,062 children aged 12-17 years in Hong Kong. Structured questionnaires were used to collect data from the children. The prevalence rate of the co-occurrence of exposure to IPV and CAN in the Chinese population, and the unique impacts of exposure to IPV and CAN on children were examined. Results: The results show that 13.1% of the children had experienced CAN, and 6.5% had witnessed parental IPV. Among those families characterized by IPV, 61.1% were involved in child abuse in the preceding year of the study. Participants who had experienced both CAN and exposure to parental IPV reported lower levels of self-esteem and higher rates of being aggressive and violent, and feeling threatened. These children also reported the highest levels of feeling that their well-being was threatened and of blaming themselves for parental violence and parental discipline. Conclusions: The findings reemphasize the important need for public policy on child and youth victimization that encourages social workers and Child Protective Services to screen for child polyvictimization in cases of suspected/reported child abuse.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4-15
Number of pages12
JournalPsychology of Violence
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2011 Jan

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Social Psychology
  • Health(social science)
  • Applied Psychology


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