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Violence against children and natural disasters: A systematic review and meta-analysis of quantitative evidence

Ilan Cerna-Turoff, Hanna-Tina Fischer, Susannah Mayhew and Karen Devries

PLOS ONE, 2019, vol. 14, issue 5, 1-18

Abstract: Objectives: Reviews of violence against children in disaster settings focus on armed conflict. Little is understood about natural disasters which has implications in planning humanitarian response. We examined the magnitude and direction of the association between exposure to natural disasters and physical, emotional, and sexual violence against children, and assessed the quality of the evidence. Methods: We searched 15 health and social science databases from first record until May 16, 2018. Publications describing all types of quantitative study design were eligible for inclusion. We presented study characteristics and quality in a narrative form and generated pooled estimates using a three-level random effects model. We evaluated Cochrane’s Q with p-values below 0.10 and radial plots to assess heterogeneity. Planned subgroup analyses explored differential results by violence form, study design, and analysis method. Results: 11 publications met inclusion criteria. The majority were cross-sectional studies examining physical or sexual violence in the United States. We found no evidence of a consistent association or directional influence between natural disasters and violence against children. Combined categorical violence outcomes had substantial heterogeneity [Q (df = 66) = 252.83, p

Date: 2019
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DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0217719

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