Child Abuse and Neglect, February 2019, vol. 88, pp. 348-361.
Understanding risk factors is important to ending childhood violence and meeting Sustainable Development Goal 16.2. To date, no study has examined patterns of risk factors across countries comprehensively for different types of childhood violence, and there is a dearth of evidence of polyvictimization in lower- and middle-income settings. We analyse risk factors of childhood emotional (EV), physical (PV), sexual violence (SV) and polyvictimization for children aged 13–17 from nationally-representative Violence Against Children Surveys across six countries. We examine risk factors at the community-, household-, and individual- levels for each violence type, stratified by gender using multivariable logistic regression models. Across countries, school enrolment increased violence risk among females and males (three countries), but was protective against violence among females (one country), and among males (three countries). Among females, increasing age was associated with increased risk of SV (five countries) and polyvictimization (three countries); among males this relationship was less salient. Non-residence with a biological father emerged as a risk factor for SV among girls. Few or inconsistent associations were found with other factors, including number of household members, wealth, and urban residence. These results underscore on the one hand, the need for country-specific research on risk factors to inform prevention strategies, as well as increased investment in data collection to provide a more complete and robust basis for evidence generation. High levels of polyvictimization highlight overlapping vulnerabilities children face, and may provide insights for policymakers and practitioners in designing strategies to protect children at greatest risk of abuse.