LETTER

Repeated reports for child maltreatment among intimate partner violence victims: findings from the National Survey of Child and Adolescent Well-Being

Cecilia Casanueva, Sandra L Martin, Desmond K Runyan
Child Abuse & Neglect 2009, 33 (2): 84-93
19285725

OBJECTIVES: To determine the prevalence of intimate partner violence (defined as any physical violence during the last 12 months or previously) among mothers who maltreat their children, and to examine whether mothers' experiences of intimate partner violence (IPV) are associated with repeated reports (rereports) of children to Child Protective Services (CPS) during the following 18 months.

METHODS: Data for the analyses were from the National Survey of Child and Adolescent Well-Being (NSCAW), a national probability study of children investigated for child maltreatment. The sample of 5,501 children (ages 0-14) was randomly selected from the families who entered the US child welfare system between October 1999 and December 2000. The analysis sample was restricted to 1,236 families in which caregivers were: (1) the alleged perpetrators of the child maltreatment at baseline (independently of substantiation status) and (2) the biological mothers (n=1,212 or 98.6%), adoptive mothers (n=17 or 1%), or stepmothers (n=7 or 0.3%) of children not placed in out-of-home care.

RESULTS: Children of mothers physically abused by an intimate partner during the last 12 months or previously at the intake interview (44%) were twice as likely as children of mothers who had not experienced such violence to be rereported to CPS (29% vs. 14%, Odds Ratio=2.0, 95% Confidence Interval=1.1-3.4). Rereports occurred almost twice as quickly for children of mothers who experienced IPV compared to children of mothers who had not experienced IPV (Hazard Ratio=1.9, 95% Confidence Interval=1.1-3.0).

CONCLUSIONS: The higher risk and speedier rereports of child maltreatment associated with intimate partner violence highlights the need for universal assessment and provision of services for IPV among families that are investigated by CPS.

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