What do children say about seeking help in situations of gender-based violence? Different perspectives depending on whether they have experienced such situations or not

Background As highlighted in recent studies, children could have a relevant role to play in seeking help in cases of gender-based violence at home, contributing to early detection and empowering them as rights holders and masters of their own lives. Notwithstanding, multiple obstacles to them doing so have been detected. Objective To find out expectations of help among children, seeking the differences between those who have experienced gender-based violence at home and those who have not, by gender and age. Participants and Setting. 3664 schoolchildren from 8 to 18 years old (Meanage = 13.16, girls = 50.7 %, secondary school = 64.6 %, primary school = 35.4 %) in Catalonia (Spain). Methods Quantitative study. Children responded to an on-line questionnaire. Bivariate analysis and binary multiple logistic regression were used. Results Children would like to take an active role in seeking help, but were afraid of the consequences and did not know how, or who to ask. Older children and those who had experienced gender-based violence at home were less likely to ask for help (β = −0.66, [−0.99 - -0.34], p < .001 and β = −0.67, [−1.04 - -0.27], p < .001, respectively), and were less trusting of adults. Conclusions In seeking help, children demand safe services, with clearly identifiable helpers available, able to protect them and their family. Training adults they can trust such as teachers is key. Educating children about what gender-based violence is and where they can seek help is also important ​
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