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Child Abuse and Neglect and Intimate Partner Violence Victimization and Perpetration: A Prospective Investigation

NCJ Number
Child Abuse and Neglect Volume: 38 Issue: 4 Dated: April 2014 Pages: 650-663
Cathy Spatz Widom; Sally Czaja; Mary Ann Dutton
Date Published
April 2014
14 pages
For this study, 497 children (ages 0-11) with documented histories of child abuse and/or neglect were matched with 395 children without maltreatment histories, and both groups were assessed in adulthood (median age 39.5 years old) for the perpetration and/or victimization of various types of intimate partner violence (psychological abuse, physical violence, sexual violence, and injury).
One important finding was the high rate of victimization for intimate partner violence (IPV) for both the abuse/neglect group and the control group (83-85 percent). Regarding the types of IPV victimization, a second significant finding was that there were few significant differences between the two groups in victimization that involved psychological abuse, physical violence, and sexual violence; however, significantly more of the abuse/neglect group reported being injured because of actions by their partner, compared to the control group. Only individuals who were neglected as children, but not those who were physically or sexually abused, were more likely to injure an adult intimate partner (perpetration). The study did not find that child abuse and neglect predicted differences in risk for IPV perpetration for specific types of IPV acts (psychological abuse, physical or sexual violence) nor did a child abuse history lead to differential risk for IPV perpetration by gender. These new findings suggest that increased attention should be given to IPV victimization and perpetration for individuals with histories of neglect. 5 tables and 82 references