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FSD2416 Child Victim Survey 2008

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Authors

  • Ellonen, Noora (Police University College)
  • Kääriäinen, Juha (Police University College)
  • Salmi, Venla (National Research Institute of Legal Policy (Optula))
  • Sariola, Heikki (Central Union for Child Welfare)

Keywords

assault, child sexual abuse, children, corporal punishment, crime, crime victims, cyberbullying, domestic violence, family environment, ill-treated children, internet, parental role, parents, peer-group relationships, robbery, school bullying, sexual behaviour, siblings, theft

Abstract

The survey focused on violence against children and adolescents in Finland, surveying different forms and manifestations of violence. The respondents were sixth grade (12-13 year olds) and ninth grade (15-16 year olds) pupils in schools. There were over 13,000 respondents. The main themes were experiences of crime, sibling and peer victimization, witnessing domestic violence, corporal punishment or other violence perpetrated by a parent, sexual abuse, harassment and threats via the internet and mobile phone (cyber-bullying), and school bullying. The questions on domestic violence, sexual relationships and sexual abuse were the same as presented in the FSD2406 Child Victim Survey 1988.

First, the respondents were asked about their home, financial situation of the family, hobbies, friends, illnesses and disabilities, self-perceived health, smoking, drug use, taking exercise, how they spent their free-time, and their own and parents' alcohol use. Parent-child or guardian-child relationships were surveyed by asking, for example, how parents/guardians solve disputes. Next questions, adapted from the Finnish version of the Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire (SDQ, SDQ-Fin), measured emotional and behavioural problems (conduct problems, emotional symptoms, hyperactivity-inattention, peer problems and prosocial behaviour), containing both positive and negative behavioural traits.

So-called conventional crime was charted by asking whether the respondents had been subjected to robbery, theft, vandalism, assault or attempted assault, unlawful threats, how often, whether they had told anyone, and whether they had suffered any injuries. Further questions dealt with the scene of the crime and the perpetrator's identity. Sibling and peer violence was studied with questions about assault, and physical and emotional bullying. Questions on these themes were based on the Juvenile Victimization Questionnaire (JVQ) created by Finkelhor, Hamby, Ormrod and Turner.

Regarding witnessing domestic violence, the respondents were asked whether they had witnessed any bullying or assault at home on mother, father or sibling, who had been the perpetrator, and whether the violence had had any consequences. The respondents' subjection to corporal punishment or other violence perpetrated by a parent was investigated by asking whether the parents had sulked, used verbal abuse, threatened the respondent with violence, pushed or shook them, pulled their hair, slapped, hit, whipped, kicked, or threatened them with a weapon during disputes and arguments.

The respondents' experiences of sexual intimacies or intercourse with persons at least five years older than them were explored with the help of several questions. They were asked what had happened (proposing, caressing, showing or touching genitals, imitating sexual intercourse, sexual intercourse, etc.), who had done it (stranger, friend, cousin, uncle, aunt, father, mother, brother, sister, etc.), and at what age. Further questions investigated who initiated the sexual activity, whether the person had forced, bribed, or used violence against the respondent in order to get him/her to do what they wanted to, and whether the parties had been under the influence of alcohol. The feelings of the respondents who had experienced sexual harassment, both at the time of the incident and afterwards, were covered. Further question asked whether the respondent had told anyone.

The survey also studied the ninth grade pupils' sexual experiences with their peers (first kiss, dating, touching, other sexual acts etc).

Cyberbullying was explored by asking the respondents whether they had received offensive, harassing or threatening text messages, whether someone had posted something offensive about them online, and whether someone had published photos of them naked. Further questions explored whether the respondents themselves had sent offensive or harassing text messages, posted something offensive about others online or published photos of themselves naked. One theme pertained to internet-based acquaintances, the kind of information the respondents had given about themselves over the Internet, how the Internet acquaintances had behaved online (used offensive language, asked for revealing photos, proposed sex etc.), whether the respondent had met the person offline, and whether the meeting had led to sex.

School bullying between pupils and by teachers were explored with a few questions. Finally, the respondents were asked whether they themselves had committed offences such as making graffiti, vandalism, theft, fighting, assaulting someone, sexual harassment or abuse.

Background variables included the respondent's gender, age, household composition, country of birth, class grade, mother tongue as well as their parents' age group, country of birth, employment situation and education.

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