Risk Factors

Violence against children is a multi-faceted problem, of which the causes are identified on the individual and the interpersonal level, and in social circumstances.

Individual level

  • Biological and personal characteristics, such as gender and age
  • Gender expression and sexual orientation (LGBTQ community)
  • Low level of education – learning
  • Low income
  • Physical disability or mental health problem (mental retardation)
  • Harmful consumption of alcohol and drugs
  • Background of exposure to violence

Interpersonal level

  • Absence of emotional bonds between children and parents or caregivers
  • Inadequate parental care
  • Dysfunctional family or divorced parents
  • Association with people of the same age who exhibit transgressive or criminal behaviour
  • Children who witness domestic violence or violence between their guardians
  • Marriages at a young age or compulsory marriages

Area (community) features

  • Poverty
  • Population density
  • Inadequate social cohesion and migratory populations
  • Access to alcohol and firearms
  • High rates of gang concentration and drug trafficking

Social circumstances

  • Traditional social structures that accept the expression of violence as being natural
  • Health, financial, educational and welfare policies that advance economic and social inequalities and inequality between the sexes
  • Inadequate or absent social protection
  • Aftermath of warlike conflicts or natural disasters
  • Weak governance and inadequate law and order enforcement