Objective To analyse factors associated with child sexual abuse in Brazil.
Methods A cross-sectional study based on data of a multi-centre study performed by WHO. It used cluster sampling, with a representative sample of 1172 women aged 15–49 years in São Paulo, Southeastern Brazil, and 1473 women from Zona da Mata de Pernambuco, Northeastern Brazil. Standardised questionnaires were completed in 2000 and 2001. The follow variables (prior to the occurrence of sexual abuse) were analysed: sociodemographic characteristics (origin, migration) and family experiences of violence (mother abused by intimate partner, witness of violence in childhood). Non-conditional logistic regression was performed, with the estimative of ORs.
Results Physical violence by an intimate partner against the mother was associated with child sexual abuse in São Paulo (OR=2.37, 95% CI 1.35 to 4.17) and in Zona da Mata de Pernambuco (OR=2.42, 95% CI 1.38 to 4.23). Witnessing this violence was not associated with the outcome in both regions. Neither were sociodemographic characteristics.
Conclusions Girls exposed to violence against their mothers in their homes are in higher risk of suffering sexual abuse, regardless of some socio-demographic conditions. Studies on factors associated with abuse should be considered in the development of preventive policies and ensure children's rights.
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