Caregiver parenting and gender attitudes: Associations with violence against adolescent girls in South Kivu, Democratic Republic of Congo

Kathryn L. Falb, Khudejha Asghar, Betsy Laird, Sophie Tanner, Elizabeth Graybill, Pamela Mallinga, Lindsay Stark - Child Abuse and Neglect


Violence against adolescent girls occurs at alarmingly high rates in conflict-affected settings, in part due to their increased vulnerability from their age and gender. However, humanitarian programming efforts have historically focused either on child abuse prevention or intimate partner violence prevention and have not fully addressed the specific needs of adolescent girls, including engagement of caregivers to reduce risk of violence against adolescent girls. Thus, the objectives of this analysis are to examine the whether gendered and parental attitudes of caregivers in South Kivu, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) were associated with their adolescent girls’ experiences of violence and girls’ attitudes towards IPV. Cross-sectional data from 869 girls (10–14 years) and their caregivers (n = 764) were drawn from a baseline assessment of a violence prevention evaluation conducted in 2015. Findings suggest that female caregiver’s gender equitable attitudes for adults may be associated with reduced odds of sexual abuse and less acceptance of IPV for adolescent girl children. Parenting attitudes and beliefs and gender equity for girl children were not associated with violence risk for girls, while increased accepting attitudes of negative discipline were only associated with lowered odds of sexual abuse. Understanding of caregivers’ attitudes may provide potential insight into how to more effectively engage and develop programming for caregivers to promote the safety and well-being of adolescent girls.

For more information, or to read this article, please click the link above.