Journal of Family Violence Volume: 23 Issue: 4 Dated: May 2008 Pages: 253-263
This study examined whether perception and reporting of abuse would be different with respect to who the victim was and how the victim was abused.
Finding highlights include: (1) the public tends to perceive maltreatments as abusive if it is of sexual and physical nature, where psychological abuse and neglect are perceived as less abusive; (2) a strong direct relationship between perception of abuse and the reporting of it agrees with the belief that behavior is always guided or influenced by belief and knowledge; and (3) perception of the harmful effects of the behaviors is an important factor for reporting the cases. The overall findings show that perception and reporting of abusive behavior differ with respect to the victims of abuse and the nature of abusive behaviors. The prevalence and serious consequences of family violence have given rise to massive research efforts. However, there is often a discrepancy between the official definitions and public perceptions of various types of abuse. Underreporting is common due to lack of awareness of abusive behaviors by the public. Differences between perception of abuse and reporting are well documented in the context of single group of victims. Respondents in this study were Hong Kong residents aged 18-years old and above. The study attempted to examine whether perception and reporting of abuse would be different with respect to who the victim was and how the victim was abused. It is expected that the results of the study can contribute to the understanding of the perception of abuse and reporting behaviors among the Hong Kong people. The findings can assist the relevant authorities and organizations to formulate appropriate policies to tackle the increasingly serious problem of family violence in Hong Kong. Tables, appendix, references
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