Rearing violence in the Bahamas


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Rearing violence in the Bahamas
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38 p.
Carroll, Marie.
Fielding, William.
Brennen, Shane.
Hutcheson, Stephanie.
College of The Bahamas
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Nassau, Bahamas
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Domestic Violence--Bahamas.   ( lcsh )


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This paper draws upon several Bahamian datasets to describe the violence to which children are exposed, particularly at home, and often as a result of adult behaviour.

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College of The Bahamas
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College of The Bahamas
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Draft: Violence Symposium, 3rd November 2011 Page | 1 Rearing violence in Bahamian homes Marie Carroll1, William J. Fielding2, Shane Brennen1&Stephanie Hutcheson1 School of Social Sciences1, Planning Unit2 The College of The Bahamas, Nassau, The Bahamas This paper draws upon several Bahamian datasets to describe the violence to which children are exposed, particularly at home, a nd often as a result of adult be haviour. The linkages between abuse and selected household behaviours indicate th at violence within the home does not arise spontaneously but co-occurs with other deviant behaviours. Actions wi thin the household and economic challenges can have important impacts on the child. Abused children are at greater risk of carrying weapons, and the association w ith underachievement at school and being armed and possibly learnt behavi ours at home are highlight ed. The consequences of these actions with homes, which are the domain of parents, are discussed. What we must remember is that the evil we see all around us today is from seeds sown by this society many years ago. They have now come to full and revengeful fruition (Bahamians have to solve crime problem, 2010, p. 4). Both the government and civic organizations c onducted public education programs aimed at child abuse and appropriate parenting behavior; however, child abuse and neglect remained serious problems (U.S. Department of State, 2010, para. 2). A 34-year-old man [Wallace] was arraigned in M agistrate's Court yesterday charged with two counts of rape... He indicated that he wanted to plead guilty…Wallace cl aimed that he had been molested as a child by a now deceased relative… (Man accused of rape claims he was molested as a child, 2011, paras. 2 & 3). Although crimes have occurred throughout Baha mian history (Lofquist, 2010), the general opinion is that they have become “rampant” (Nunez, 2010, para. 5). Crime statistics, particularly for the most extreme offences, such as murder a nd homicide, continue to increase. In 1991, there were 28 homicides and by 2007 the figure had moved to 79 (Royal Bahamas Police Force Research and Planning Unit, 2008). As of October 2011, the homicide count stood at over 100 (Strachan, 2011).The majority of both victims and suspects of violent crime are in the 16-24 year age group (Hanna, 2005). Statistics on reported abuse of children have shown rises in physical, emotional and sexual abuse during the period 1990-2008 (Plumridge & Fi elding, 2009). These official statistics document the rapid rise in violence against pe rsons, including children, even if


Draft: Violence Symposium, 3rd November 2011 Page | 2 they under-report the real number of incidences. However, it should be note d that these statistics merely document the outcome of violence, not its cause. Jamaica has a history of violence which ha s been well documented and much studied, for example, by Harriott in 2003. While the causes and patterns of vi olence in Jamaica may or may not reflect those in The Bahamas, the disruption to the wellbeing of societ y may be similar. A study on violence in Jamaica by Smith and Mosb y (2003) found that poor parenting practices were an important contribution to the violence se en in Jamaican society stating “that the harsh physical punishment meted out to children is part ially responsible for the current social problems of the island nation” (p. 369) Reviews by Holt, Buckley, and Whelan (2008), and Maas, Herrenkohl and Sousa (2008) both provide ample ev idence of the longer-term consequences of child abuse/maltreatment. This suggests that it w ould be instructive to look at the way children are treated in The Bahamas to assess if their treatment, particularly in the home, may be nurturing future violence. The home has been romanticized as a place of love and safety, particularly in children’s books as Anne MacLeod states, "there was almost always the assurance that somewhere in a child's life there was safety, security, and stability available from adults," (cited by Gilman, 2005, para 6). The realization that the home is a place of viol ence and the forms of violence it can contain has required a reassessment as to what actions are normal within a home (Gelles & Straus, 1988). Children and adult females are generally the mo st vulnerable members of a household and so they are at risk of being victim s of harm (Hanson & Patel, 2010) The need for children to be nurtured with care is well known and an objectiv e of both responsible parents and political leaders and was codified by the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child in 1989. When children are inappropriately treated, the repercussions are far reaching, and can lead to further in violence, particularly when the childr en become adults. As stated by Maas, et al. (2008), “child maltreatment poses cl ear risks to those who are vi ctimized” (p. 56) and can be associated with long term affects wh ich last into adulthood. Conseque ntly, it is no surprise that it is now appreciated that The Bahamas, in comm on with other countries, has “serious problems” when it comes to child abuse (U.S. Departme nt of State, 2009, Section 5, para. 8).


Draft: Violence Symposium, 3rd November 2011 Page | 3 Blank’s 2005 report The Situation of Youth in The Bahamas prepared for the Government of The Bahamas revisited secondary data sources and examined the less ons from overseas which could be appropriately adapted to th e Bahamian context to protect children from harm as well as making recommendations for improving child and yout h welfare in The Bahamas. She identified six “main risks” (p. 34) to Bahamian youth, namely: Poor education outcomes and early school leaving Early initiation of sexual ac tivity with high rates of pr egnancy, STDs and HIV/AIDS High rates of unemployment, especially among girls and young teens Crime and violence, a propensity to carry weapons and associations with gangs Substance abuse Sexual and physical abuse – primaril y of girls but also of boys. While the importance of youth violence has been appreciated by the pol ice (Bell, 2006) and politicians in The Bahamas (Turnquest addresse s, 2010) such discussions within the country seem to have occurred with little reference to Bahamian data (despite Blank’s report) and have depended on overseas sources and rhetoric. In 2009, a new Child Protection Act came into force (Child Care Protection Act No. 1 of 2007)1which harmonized previous laws and increased penalties regarding child abuse. These changes acknowledged the need to increase the legal protection offered children. Brennen et al. (2010) provide a useful Bahamian view of corporal punishment on children and the associated activities which co-occur in hom es where children are subjected to violence. Their paper indicated that physical punishment of children was common and appeared to be part of the Bahamian way of training a child which may have its roots in religi ous belief and also in tradition. In the West Indies, where corporal punishment is common, Arnold (1982) has stated that “beating… can be severe and bears no relevance to the age of the child nor the stage of its development” (p. 141). Hahnlen, Rosado, Capo zzi, and Hamon (1997) have highlighted the stresses of mothering in The Bahamas, which can result in mothers being violent towards their children. Other forms of violence, anger, fear et c., have also been iden tified as being important 1For a summary of laws governing children in The Bahamas see Overview of the Regulatio n of Family and Minors in the Bahamas (2010) and those regarding sexual abuse “Protection against abuse, including sexual abuse, of minors in The Bahamas” (Anon, n,d,b)


Draft: Violence Symposium, 3rd November 2011 Page | 4 determinants of crime in The Bahamas and were repeated by Allen in 2010 (Nunez, 2010). Rolle (n.d.) in a review of student studies at The Co llege of The Bahamas f ound many that indicated that abuse of Bahamian children had a detrim ental effect on their achievement at school. Therefore, it is necessary to look at activities beyond corporal punishment which may negatively impact the development of children which combined with public and private initiatives attempts to give further protection to children. This paper brings together data from seven stud ies in an attempt to hi ghlight the violence which occurs in Bahamian homes and so give some id ea of the range and scope of violence to which children are exposed. Together, th ese studies help to paint a pict ure of activities in children’s homes, and beyond, all of which shed on light on the tangled web of viol ence and highlight links between childhood violence and the associated actions of children both in childhood and adulthood. As such this paper does not attempt to address all the “main risks” identified by Blank which children face, but rath er we focus on factors which can heighten the risk of children being subject to harm, and so consequently, their long-term ability to make a positive contribution to society. This approach is attende d to allow the reader to appreciate the factors which underlie the “main risks” which she notes. The child population in The Bahamas In 2000, there were 88,107 households and 105,342 children (under 18) in The Bahamas (Bahamas Department of Statistics, 2002), so children represented 35% of the population. In 2000, 46, 928 homes (53.3% of all households) included at least one child livi ng with at least one adult and 45.5% of all homes included at least on e child living in a home w ith at least two adults (Bahamas Department of Statistics, 2010). In 2006/2007, 72,500 children were enrolled in school (Bahamas Ministry of Education, 2006) Based on a 2005 Bahamian Ministry of Education study (Bain, 2005) we estimate that 84.2% of school children are Bahamian citizens. Therefore, the study of children in The Bahama s and how they are exposed to any form of violence is to study a large segment of the populati on, as well as that part of society which will produce the leaders of the nation in the first half of the 21st century and also be responsible for the future economic and social wellbeing of the country. While the data below concentrate on


Draft: Violence Symposium, 3rd November 2011 Page | 5 Bahamian citizens, in some studi es participants could have been citizens from other countries who were living in The Bahamas. Sources of data Typically, a child lives his/her li fe in two locations, home and school We have drawn data from a number of studies which included questions about the use of violence to discipline children and had questions concerning violen ce in the home and at school. In presenting the results from these se ven studies we refer to them as: Study 1: Results from Hutcheson, Brennen, Bethel & Carroll (2011) Study 2: Results from Fi elding et al. (2011) Study 3: Results from Brennen et al. (2010) Study 4: Results from Fielding and Farmer (2010) Study 5: Results from a Bahamas Ministry of Education/College of The Bahamas study (2009) Study 6: Results from a Ministry of Hea lth study (Ministry of Health, 2001) Study 7: Results from Plum ridge and Fielding (2009) Study 8: Results from Fi elding and Taylor (2011) While some of the data included from these studies has already been published, others are presented for the first time. For the convenien ce of the reader, we prcis the methodology of each study below: Study1: This was a study designed to look at gu n ownership in The Bahamas. It collected information about the household, the guns kept by household members, information about a gun and the information about the person who controlle d the gun. In formation on selected activities within the home which included domestic violen ce, sexual abuse and abuse of animals was also collected. College of The Bahamas students sent out a link to a Survey Monkey questionnaire to members of their email address books. This resulted in 1,813 respons es. Not all responses were completed and not all respondents were Ba hamian citizens living within The Bahamas. After cleaning the data 1,281response s were retained for analysis. Firearms were reported in


Draft: Violence Symposium, 3rd November 2011 Page | 6 23.0% of homes. In order to assess the reliabilit y of an internet survey, 413 College of the Bahamas students were asked if there was a fi rearm in their home and 29.7% definitely knew that there was a firearm in the home. Study 2: This study was designed to look at childhood acts of an imal cruelty and to collect information on the home in which the child was brought up (including the presence of domestic violence, other uses of violence within the hom e). College of The Bahamas students sent out a Survey Monkey internet survey to members of their email address book s. Two-thousand two hundred and eleven responses were logged. Af ter cleaning the data, 1,881 responses were retained which related to Bahamian citizens living in The Bahamas. Study 3: This is explained in Brennenet al (2010). College of The Bahamas students acting as data collectors obtained responses from 1,037 people throughout New Providence, from a convenience sample; of which 933 lived in their own home or with rela tions. Of this group, 69.4% were females, and 62.5% were aged over 21 years. Children lived in 570 homes. This study concentrated on the links between the corp oral punishment of children and selected cooccurring behaviours within the household, incl uding domestic violence, physical and sexual violence, substance abuse and violence towards pets. Study 4: This study was designed to investigate how children are disc iplined and pets are trained. It also sought to determine which acts of discipline might be associated with the abuse of a child. These included, corporal punishment, shouting, insulting, threatening, setting extra tasking, denying the children activities such as play, videog ames, use of the internet etc. College of The Bahamas students sent out a Survey Monkey intern et survey to members of their email address books. Three hundred and eighty-eight responses were logged. After cleaning the data, 337 almost complete responses were retained from Bahamian citizens living in The Bahamas. Here we focus on the results relating to the methods used to discipline children. Study 5: This study was designed to examine how children are taught in Junior High and High Schools (Grades 8 and 11) in The Bahamas. Howe ver, the survey included a question on taking a weapon to school as well as support for the ch ild at home. A random sample of students was


Draft: Violence Symposium, 3rd November 2011 Page | 7 selected using probability proportio nal to the size of the school from across New Providence and Grand Bahama. Eighteen schools were incl uded in the sample of 1,018 respondents. Study 6: This study was part of a Caribbean-w ide project on adolescen t health, funded by the Pan American Health Organization and executed in The Bahamas by The Ministry of Health. The study was designed to examine the health of students (in grades 7, 9 and 11) throughout seven islands of The Bahamas. The survey in cluded questions on carrying weapons to school, activities of members of thei r household, which included abuse towards parents and children. Students were randomly chosen and resulted in 1,007 participants. Study 7: This is explained in full by Plumridge and Fielding (2009). The purpose of the study was to assess the links between domestic viol ence and other behaviour s of household members in homes of college students. These behavi ours included domestic violence, sexual abuse, substance abuse and the treatment of pets. Th e authors reported data on 612 students who were recruited by student enumerat ors visiting classes at The College of The Bahamas. Study 8: Administrators of public schools attendi ng the Educational Leader ship Institute in 2011 completed a short survey which gathered inform ation which included the violence in the homes of the administrators and the majority of th e student homes in their schools; replies were obtained from 37 administrators from New Providence and the Fa mily Islands (excluding Grand Bahama.) We recognise that cultural diffe rences influence what people unde rstand violence and abuse to be. As indicated by Brennen et al. (2010) physic al abuse is The Bahamas is associated with grievous physical harm. Similarly, Brennen an d her colleagues show that what respondents understand by the word violence needs to be in terpreted with care. Its understanding by respondents probably relates to severe acts. Further, the situation under which an act is perpetrated (self defence compared to the same act as a result of anger) causes some people to classify an act of violence as not violent if they feel that the circumstan ces might justify the act.


Draft: Violence Symposium, 3rd November 2011 Page | 8 Results The studies provide a range of es timates for the percentage of ho mes with domestic violence: 26.7% of 1,243 homes2, 39.4% of 1,383 homes3, 23.2% of 889 homes4, and 21.3% of homes5. Wives appeared to be at higher risk of being sexually abused (11.8%) than girl friends (4.8%) by their intimate partners, OR6= 2.63, 95% CI[0.77, 8.91]7. However, this result is not formally significant ( p =.117) probably as a result of the small sample size ( N = 241)8. Sexual abuse definitely occurred in 7.6% and probably in an additional 3.4% (1,274 responses) homes9. Firearms were reported in between 23.0% (of 1,281)10 and 26.0% (of 1,308)11 of homes. Three studies gave a consistent estimate for the percentage of children ph ysically abused through corporal punishment. Children were considered abused through corporal punishment in 4.3% of 878 homes12. Of 1,434 respondents, 4.4% of respondents thought that they had been abused as a child as a result of corporal punishment and only 7.3% had not been subjected to corporal punishment as a child13. In almost 10% of households childr en were spanked “often” as a form of punishment and in case of 4.1% (418 ho mes), the spanking was considered abuse14. Economic aspects of violence in the home (Table 1) Violence occurred in homes at a ll socioeconomic levels. The most notable aspect of this uniformity was the use of violence to discipline children and the c onsequent abuse of children as a result of punishment (see below). Children were equally exposed to corporal punishment 2 Study1. 3 Study 2. 4 Study 3. 5 Study 7. 6Odds ratios allow us to assess the risk of a behavior oc curring in two groups. If the 95% confidence limits include 1.00, then the risk of the behaviour occuring the two groups would be regarded as being statistically similar (i.e. the probability of seeing this outcome could be due to chance). 7Study 1. 8 Study 7. 9Study 1. 10 Study 1. 11 Study 2. 12 Study 1. 13 Study 2. 14 Study 3.


Draft: Violence Symposium, 3rd November 2011 Page | 9 irrespective of the household income, 2(10, N = 775) =17.8, p =.059. However, lower income homes were at greater risk of being the more violent homes. Domestic violence was associated with household income, with poorer households ha ving a greater chance of domestic violence than richer households, 2 (5, N = 1,112) =13.2, p =.022. Across all income groups between 1.0%-6.7% of children are abused in homes with domestic vi olence, overall 3.0% of children were both abused and living in homes with domes tic violence. This level of violence was consistent across all economic groups, 2(2, N = 245) = 2.90, p =.235. Sexual abuse was associated with household income, with poorer h ouseholds having a higher risk of sexual abuse occurring than richer households, 2 (25, N = 1,140) =26.2, p =.036. Respondents indicated that richer households were more likely to be “loving” than poorer households, 2 (10, N = 1,143) =23.3, p =.01015. It should be noted that those living in households w ith an income of $10,000 or less are probably living in poverty (Baham as Department of Statistics, 2004). Table 1: Prevalence of selected activities in the home by total household income. Total household income per year <$10,000 $10,00120,000 $20,001$40,000 $40,001$60,000 $60,001$80,000 >$80,001 Overall Homes with domestic violence 36.7% 30.2% 28.7% 29.1% 21.8% 18.9% 27.2% Someone anyone in the household been definitely or probably sexually abused 12.5% 14.9% 10.3% 11.9% 10.5% 8.0% 11.2% Children are hit as a means of discipline 69.4% 65.0% 76.4% 72.2% 64.4% 65.3% 69.8% Children are hit as a means of discipline and sometimes I would consider this abuse 11.3% 4.3% 4.6% 4.0% 2.9% 5.0% 4.8% Child abused and domestic violence in home 6.7% 3.5% 2.1% 2.3% 1.0% 5.0% 3.0% Household is “loving” 76.5% 88.0% 86.4% 86.5% 91.8% 90.7% 87.4% Source: Study 1 Discipline within the home Spanking of very young children was ubiquitous a nd most children even in the 14 -17 age group were spanked (53.8%). Hitting ch ildren with an object was also common (41.1%) and occurred even in the 1-2 age group. However, the use of spanking to train children diminished with the age of the child, but other disciplining behavi ours increased. Most children (81.1%) were subjected to shouting. Shouting was not only more common than spanking, but it occurred 15 Study 1.


Draft: Violence Symposium, 3rd November 2011 Page | 10 throughout the entire childhood. While threaten ing was more common in children over seven, the exposure of children to insu lting became more common with age. Abuse as a result of discipline increased w ith age, particularly in the over seven age group (Table 2). Table 2: Methods used to discipline children by age of child. Age group Method of discipline 1-2 3-7 8-13 14-17 Overall Shouted at 80.0% 82.4% 75.7% 88.5% 81.1% Spanked 100.0% 94.1% 75.7% 53.8% 75.6% Insulted 10.0% 35.3% 45.9% 61.5% 44.4% Threatened 40.0% 35.3% 48.6% 46.2% 44.4% Hit with an object 20.0% 52.9% 37.8% 46.2% 41.1% Abused as a result of the discipline 0.0% 5.9% 8.1% 26.9% 12.2% N 10 17 37 26 90 Source: Study 4 The other forms of discipline used when a chil d did something wrong show that some parents use a variety of levers to discipline children, including access to modern technology. In some cases other reactions also indica ted a lack of parental knowledge of child development (“He gets the slint [silent?] treatment”)in contrast to othe r parents who attempted to explain and rationalise to the child the unacceptability of the wrong action. Scoring the results from the 15 methods of di scipline included in the study (see Appendix 1), never =3, less than often 2 and more than ofte n 1, a discipline score can be devised. The maximum score was 45 and the minimum score 15. Th is discipline score indicated that a child who was subjected to many of these disciplinary actions was more associated with respondents’ concept of abuse. A Mann-Whitney test indica ted that those children who were reported as being never abused had the hi gher score (received fewer disc iplinary actions) (Mdn=35) than those who were abused (Mdn=30), U = 241.5, p =.031, r=.26. A multivariate analysis was used to assess if th e classification distinguished between these two groups of children (abused vs. not abused) base d on 15 disciplinary actions and Wilks’ Lambda16 was found to be significant, p <.001. The canonical discriminant function coefficients indicate 16Wilk’s Lamdba tests the hypothesis that the means of the measurements are the same in the two groups. Ifthis is not significant there would be no point in doing a linear discriminant function analysis.


Draft: Violence Symposium, 3rd November 2011 Page | 11 that being insulted and being spanked contribute most to discriminating between the two groups of children (Appendix 1)17. Only 25.8% of 422 children were rarely spanked, and 9.7% of children were spanked often. Spanking often was associated with abuse, as 25.0% ( N =16) of those who were abused were spanked often compared to 9.1% ( N = 397) of those who were not abused, OR = 3.34, 95% CI[1.02, 10.90], indicating the elevated risk of abuse once the child was subjected to spanking often. When spanking was considered abuse, this was a ssociated with the home being less likely to be considered as loving and an increased chance th at a number of undesirabl e activities occurred within the home, such as sexual abuse, substanc e abuse and domestic violence. Homes in which abuse through spanking occurred were also more likely to include a household member with a criminal record (Table 3)18. Table 3: Association between spanking as abuse and other household activities. Spanking is abuse 95% CIs Yes No OR Lower Upper Domestic violence in the home 68.8% 26.6% 6.06 2.05 17.86 Someone uses illegal drugs 41.2% 7.4% 8.81 3.12 24.86 Someone drinks alcohol in excess 33.3% 13.3% 3.25 1.07 9.89 Has anyone been sexually abuse in the household 29.4% 4.3% 8.77 2.79 27.58 Someone has a criminal record 23.1% 6.3% 4.49 1.16 17.39 I would leave the household because of the way I am treated 58.8% 20.8% 5.43 2.01 14.71 I live in a loving household 41.2% 90.9% 0.07 0.03 0.20 Source: Study 3 Children who lived in homes with domestic violence were more likely to be considered abused through the use of corporal pun ishment (8.9%, N = 270) than when domestic violence was absent (2%, N = 586), OR = 4.67, 95% CI[2.30, 9.48]19. Harm of towards children Overall, 31.6% ( N = 887) of students had ever suffered emo tional or verbal abuse, 22.2% (N = 862) had ever been physically abused and 17.0% (N = 843) had been both physically and 17Study 4. 18Study 3. 19Study 1.


Draft: Violence Symposium, 3rd November 2011 Page | 12 emotionally or verbally abused. These two forms of abuse were linked. Children who had ever been physically abused were 11.3 times more likely to be emotionally or verbally abused than those who had not ever been physically abused, OR = 11.3, 95% CI[7.6, 16.8],. An adult in the home was the most likely person to inflict em otional or verbal abus e on the child (65.1%, N = 284 reports) and was also almost the most likel y person to inflict th e physical abuse (71.3%. N = 178 reports) but 17.7% of physically abused childr en claimed to have been abused by teachers20. Deviant behaviours of parents and family members were associated with a higher risk of physical abuse (Table 4). Table 4: Prevalence and Odds Ratios of physical ab use of children associated with problems in the home Ever been physically abused 95% CIs Problem in the home Yes No OR Lower Upper Parents’ violent behaviour 30.8% 9.0% 4.51 2.95 6.89 Parents’ drug problems 13.2% 4.0% 3.64 1.99 6.63 Family problems from drinking/drugs 10.4% 3.3% 3.43 1.78 6.59 Parent’s drinking problem 28.5% 14.9% 2.28 1.54 3.37 Parents’ mental problems 11.4% 5.9% 2.03 1.13 3.63 Source: Study 6 Deviant behaviours of parents and family member s were also consistently associated with a higher risk of emotional abuse (Table 5). Table 5: Prevalence and Odds Ratios of emotional or verbal abuse of children associated with problems in the home Ever been emotionally or verbally abuse 95% CIs Problem in the home Yes No OR Lower Upper Family problems from drinking/drugs 9.0% 2.7% 3.49 1.82 6.71 Parents’ violent behaviour 22.2% 8.3% 3.17 2.09 4.80 Parents’ drug problems 9.5% 3.4% 3.01 1.63 5.57 Parents’ mental problems 11.1% 4.5% 2.64 1.52 4.60 Parents’ drinking problem 24.9% 13.9% 2.06 1.44 2.94 Source: Study 6 Physical abuse of the child was also associat ed with a heightened level of “worry” about violence and parental subs tance abuse (Table 6). 20Study 6.


Draft: Violence Symposium, 3rd November 2011 Page | 13 Table 6: Prevalence and Odds Ratios of children’s worries associated with their physical abuse. Ever been physically abused 95% CIs Worry Yes No OR Lower Upper Do not worry about being physically abused 49.7% 80.6% 0.24 0.16 0.34 Do not worry about parents drinking/drug use 69.9% 80.6% 0.56 0.38 0.82 Do not worry about being sexually abused 73.2% 79.4% 0.71 0.47 1.05 Do not worry about violence in home 64.1% 78.6% 0.48 0.33 0.70 Do not worry about parents leaving 62.0% 69.2% 0.90 0.68 1.18 Do not worry about violence in school 37.8% 46.3% 0.70 0.50 1.00 Source: Study 6 Physical abuse of the child was linked to a num ber of aspects of emotional abuse, including substance abuse and emotional abuse at home and by school teachers (Table 7). Table 7: Prevalence and Odds Ratios of physical abuse of children associat ed with emotional abuse Ever been physically abused 95% CIs Yes No OR Lower Upper Emotional or verbal abuse 78.6% 24.5% 11.29 7.60 16.78 Emotional problems from drugs/drinking 14.1% 3.6% 4.42 2.44 8.00 Emotional abuse-adult in household 72.3% 58.6% 1.85 1.11 3.08 Emotional abuse-teacher 32.5% 20.8% 1.84 1.04 3.24 Emotional abuse-adult not in household 35.7% 25.2% 1.65 0.97 2.80 Emotional abuse-sibling or teen in house 39.4% 35.9% 1.16 0.70 1.92 Emotional abuse-boy/girl friend not in house 22.3% 25.8% 0.83 0.46 1.48 Source: Study 6 Sexual abuse was also associated with physical a buse, with 37.0% of phys ically abused children also sexually abused, as opposed to only 5.5% of not physically abused children being sexually abused, OR = 10.1, 95% CI[6.4, 15.9], 21. Of 166 children who were abused, 10.2% were abus ed by adults within the household and also at school by teachers. The excessive alcohol use in the home, as indicat ed by a parental drinking problem, is associated with students being more at risk of drinking al cohol; for example, when children never drank, the parent(s) had no drinking problem in 85.2% (of 568) homes, whereas when the chid had six or more drinks this fell to 55.6% (N = 18 homes), 2(4, N = 940) =17.2, p =.00222. 21Study 6. 22Study 6.


Draft: Violence Symposium, 3rd November 2011 Page | 14 When commenting on the abuse in the majority of student homes, 8.1% of school administrators reported that hitting never occurred, 10.8% re ported that threatening never occurred, 22.2% reported that insulting never occurred, 27.8% re ported that swearing ne ver occurred and 30.6% reported that sexual abuse never occurred23. Links between sexual abuse and other behaviours in the home The presence of a household member who had b een sexually abused (at sometime, somewhere) was associated with a higher risk of a numbe r of deviant household behaviours also being present in the home as well as the respondent bei ng less likely to consider that the home was loving. It should be noted that this study did not ask where or when the sexual abuse occurred, only that a member of the household had been sexually abused (Table 8)24. Substance abuse also raised the risk of females being abused25. Table 8: Odds ratio of child being sexually abused and selected behaviours in the household. Any one sexually abused 95% CIs Anyone in the home Yes No OR Lower Upper Abuses alcohol 44.4% 17.8% 3.69 1.85 7.36 Uses illegal drugs 22.2% 9.1% 2.84 1.23 6.55 A household member has a criminal record 21.9% 5.6% 4.74 1.89 11.87 Respondent considered the home to be “loving” 61.8% 86.8% 0.25 0.12 0.51 Source: Study 7 Violence towards human and non-human animals Elevated levels of violence in the home, either towards people or pets, were associated with children being hit frequently or abused, and hitting the child fre quently or abusing him/her was also associated with the perception that the home was not a loving one (Table 9). Table 9: Odds ratio of a child being physically hit often and other aspects of the home. Respondent when a child: 95% CIs Hit less than often Hit frequently or abused OR Lower Upper Domestic violence 33.2% 60.2% 0.33 0.25 0.42 Mother hit 18.9% 33.6% 0.46 0.35 0.60 Animals abused 17.1% 30.2% 0.48 0.34 0.67 Animals hit 12.2% 22.0% 0.49 0.36 0.68 Live in a loving home 88.7% 70.9% 3.22 2.39 4.35 Source: Study 2 23 Study 8. 24Study 7. 25Study 7.


Draft: Violence Symposium, 3rd November 2011 Page | 15 Respondents who were hit frequently or abus ed as a child had a higher Childhood Animal Index26, 20.8 (SE= 0.39) as opposed to 19.7 (SE=0.27), t (593) =2.34, p =.02027. Violence at school Between 4%-5% of children thought some childre n faced no consequences for breaking school rules. Older children were less likely to be held accountable for br eaking school rules than younger children (Table 10). Table 10 Children’s perceptions of enforcement of school rules. Students who break school rules are punished Primary school % Junior Hi gh and Senior High school % Always 76.7% 52.5% Often 5.9% 17.4% Sometimes 8.6% 17.6% Rarely 3.9% 8.4% Never 4.9% 4.1% N 511 983 Source: Study 5 Even at Primary school, many children agreed that safety was a big problem, although this fear diminished in the older children at Ju nior High, Senior High schools (Table 11). Table 11: Students feeling that safety was a “problem”. Safety is a big problem at primary school I feel safe at Junior High, Senior High Strongly Agree 41.7% 15.0% Agree 14.5% 18.0% Neutral 11.5% 26.3% Disagree 9.4% 17.6% Strongly Disagree 22.9% 23.1% N 489 960 Source: Study 5 Gang membership was associated with students ar ming themselves. Less than 1% of all students who were not gang members always came to school armed, as opposed to 17.6% of members of gangs. However, it should be noted that more students armed themselves (always or sometimes) when not at school, 24.2%, than when at school, 12.7%28. Students who armed themselves 26The Childhood Animal Index assesses cruelty towards animal s in childhood through a self-reporting of childhood harm towards animals (Dadds, 2008). 27Study 2. 28Study 6


Draft: Violence Symposium, 3rd November 2011 Page | 16 outside of school tended to be the same students who were also armed at school (Spearman’s rank correlation coefficient, 0.51, p<.001). In Junior High and Senior High schools, 7.4% of students claimed that they always took a weapon to school, while 74.7% of children never took a weapon to school. Many, but not most (46.2%) of those who always brought a weapon to school ( n = 65) strongly di sagreed to feeling safe at school. Even children who felt safe at school brought we apons to school. The fear which may drive students to carry a weapon to school did not appear to emanate from the classmates, as both the students who did and did both always carry a wea pon were equally likely to like their classmates (Table 13). Children who felt uns afe at school were those who were more likely to always bring a weapon to school29, so their behaviour could be consider ed rational. However, the results suggest that children who go to sc hool armed do not do so due to fear of their classmates. The data did not support the idea that the threat of feeling unsafe at school was associated with liking class mates for those children who always car ried a weapon to school, Fisher’s Exact test, n =42, p =.1630. In the case of students in New Providence, 91.6% of children who travelled to school by private motor vehicle never carried a weapon to school, as opposed to 83.4% of students who went to school by foot or on the jitney, OR = 2.23, 95% CI[1.34, 3.72]31. Actions of parents/guardians towards the child’s performance at school were linked to the child always taking a weapon to school. The greater th e involvement of parents in the child’s school work, the less risk there was of the child always taking a weapon to school. However, it should also be noted that child ren who always carried a weapon to sc hool were less likely to admit that they always tried their best compared to ch ildren who carried a w eapon to school less than always32 (Table 12). This result was in agreemen t another study which found that children who carried weapons to work tried less hard th an those who never took weapons to school, 2(4, N = 968) = 25.5, p <.00133 (Table 13). 29Study 5. 30Study 5. 31Study 6. 32Study 5. 33Study 6.


Draft: Violence Symposium, 3rd November 2011 Page | 17 Table 12: Odds Ratios of child carrying a weapon to school and factors associated with school I carry a weapon to school 95% CIs Less than always Always OR Lower Upper I feel safe at school 45.8% 27.3% 2.25 1.22 4.15 I like my class mates 78.3% 69.2% 1.61 0.87 2.98 My parents/guardian care about my grades 98.1% 91.9% 4.43 1.58 12.45 My parents/guardian ensure I study at home 91.8% 75.0% 3.75 1.94 7.25 My parents provide a quite place to study 82.6% 67.8% 2.25 1.26 4.02 My parents never help me with my homework* 14.9% 24.6% 0.54 0.30 0.96 I try to do my best 96.5% 90.2% 3.00 1.19 7.56 Strongly agree or agree responses except for Source: Study 5 Table 13: Association of a child carrying a weapon to school and effort associated with school work. Past month-carry weapon to school How hard I try on school work Never Yes, sometimes Yes, almost all of the time n I don't try very hard 3.0% 9.1% 0.0% 34 I try hard, but not as hard as I could 46.2% 62.6% 59.1% 466 I always try very hard to do my best 50.9% 28.3% 40.9% 468 N 847 99 22 968 Source: Study 6 Further, children who took weapons to school ha d a lower grade point av erage (GPA) than those who did not. A Median test indicate d that the GPAs were different ( p =.003), with the children who never carried weapons to sc hool having the higher GPAs. Ther efore, this indicates that children who went to school prepared for violen ce did less well than other children (Table 14)34. Table 14: Association of a child carrying a weapon to school and GPA. Carry a weapon to school Mean GPA SE n Always 2.29 .08 66 Often 2.36 .10 43 Sometimes 2.20 .07 51 Rarely 2.36 .07 56 Never 2.46 .03 646 N 2.42 .02 862 Source: Study 5 34Study 5.


Draft: Violence Symposium, 3rd November 2011 Page | 18 Children who carried weapons, bot h to school and at other times were most likely to have suffered emotional abuse and/or physical abuse and children who never carried weapons were least likely. The behaviour of parents (violence and drugs, and some extent alcohol) was linked to children carrying weapons to school, and to some extent, carrying weapons on the street. Children who had been physically or emotionally abused were more likely to carry weapons, both to school and other places, than other child ren. The higher percentage of children who carried weapons all the time did not appear to be worrying about vi olence at school, at home or in the community, and this could be due to the fa ct they that they are armed and feel able to defend themselves. It would appear that violence, perceived (worry) or emotional, as much as physical within the home, or violence on the street (n ot in the home or at school) could be the reason why children carry weapons. Clearly, the re asons why children arm themselv es could be a response to a number of possible threats, real or imagined, Table 1535. Children who had been physically abused were more likely to take weapons to school than those who had not been abused, 20.8% of children who had been physically abused t ook weapons to school (sometimes or always), compared to 10.2% of children who had not been physically abused, OR = 2.25, 95% CI[1.46, 3.48]. No such link was noted for children who ha d been subject to emotional or sexual abuse36. However, physically abused as well as emotiona lly abused children were more likely to carry weapons on the street (sometimes or always), than those children who had not been abused; physical abuse, OR = 1.53, 95% CI[1.05, 2.24], and emotional abuse, OR = 1.51, 95% CI[1.08, 2.12]. 35Study 6. 36Study 6.


Draft: Violence Symposium, 3rd November 2011 Page | 19 Table 15: Association of a child carrying a weapon and behaviours inside and outside the home. Past month-carried weapon to school? Weapons carried at other times? Never Yes, sometimes Yes, almost all of the time p n Never Yes, sometimes Yes, almost all of the time p n Emotional or verbal abuse 34.0% 44.4% 52.6% .043 867 32.2% 43.3% 63.3% <.001 870 Ever been physical abused 19.6% 30.7% 57.9% <.001 845 18.9% 28.1% 48.4% <.001 848 Emotional abuse-adult in household 65.7% 52.8% 66.7% .322 275 66.3% 58.1% 66.7% .450 276 Emotional abuse, adult not in household 28.8% 32.4% 33.3% .876 268 30.0% 22.5% 55.6% .023 269 Emotional abuseteacher 20.3% 51.5% 77.8% <.001 259 20.0% 34.8% 56.3% .001 260 Physical abuse-adult in household 72.7% 65.2% 54.5% .374 173 73.9% 64.4% 64.3% .427 174 Physical abuse-teacher 14.6% 31.8% 27.3% .104 163 16.7% 21.4% 14.3% .744 164 Sexual abuse-adult in household 23.5% 33.3% 20.0% .738 98 25.0% 22.2% 25.0% .970 98 Parents’ drinking problem 15.7% 21.3% 30.0% .102 936 15.9% 16.3% 31.3% .73 939 Parents’ violent behaviour 11.3% 18.7% 47.6% <.001 906 11.4% 15.2% 28.1% .012 907 Parents’ drug problems 4.4% 6.7% 25.0% <.001 899 4.8% 5.4% 6.3% .895 900 Do not worry about violence in the community 37.0% 31.1% 52.6% .102 888 37.1% 31.4% 61.3% .021 889 Do not worry about violence at school 43.8% 35.8% 47.8% .503 899 43.3% 39.6% 61.3% .009 900 Do not worry about violence in the home 75.8% 64.7% 80.8% .078 860 75.9% 70.0% 77.3% .146 861 Source: Study 6 Students who took weapons to school were no more worried about violence at school that those who did not, 2(4, N =899) = 3.53, p =.50 (Table 16). Table 16 Association of a child carrying a weap on to school and concern about violence in school. 0.16 Past month-carry weapon to school Never Yes, sometimes Yes, almost all of the time n Not at all 43.8% 35.8% 47.6% 387 Sometimes 33.7% 42.1% 28.6% 310 Worry about violence in school A lot 22.5% 22.1% 23.8% 202 n 783 95 21 899 Source: Study 6 Students who were not worried ab out violence at school were more likely to take weapons to school, 2(4, N =900) =13.5, p =.009 (Table 17).


Draft: Violence Symposium, 3rd November 2011 Page | 20 Table 17: Association of a child carrying a weapon, other than to school, and concern about violence in school. Weapons carried at other times? Worry about violence in school Never Yes, sometimes Yes, Almost all of the time n Not at all 43.3% 39.6% 61.3% 388 Sometimes 32.5% 43.2% 19.4% 309 A lot 24.2% 17.2% 19.4% 203 N 677 192 31 900 Source: Study 6 Students who drank were more likely to carry a weapon, which indicates as association between two undesirable behaviours in school children, only 13.4% of children who never drank took a weapon to school compared to 44.5% who had six or more drinks (Bahamas Ministry of Health, Bahamas Youth Health Survey, Pan Health Organization 1998 reproduced in Blank, 2005)37. Links between physical violence as a child and characteristics of that person as an adult (Table 18) The study on gun ownership allowed information to be gathered about the person who controls a gun and how that person was treated as a child a nd his/her current activitie s. Persons who were not hit often or physically abused as a child, were at less risk than those who were in engaged or possibly being engaged in criminal activity. Th ey were also more likely to sexually abuse a household member than someone who was only hit sometimes or less. The risk or harming a household member, participating in gambling, us ing the gun to threaten a household member, use alcohol in excess or use illegal drugs etc., wa s always elevated when the adult was abused as a child; this consistency in direction is unlikely to have been a chance event, if both groups were at equal risk, p =.03138. 37Study 6 38Study 1.


Draft: Violence Symposium, 3rd November 2011 Page | 21 Table 18: Odds ratio of a child being physically hit more than sometimes and aspects of his/her adult activities. As a child, the person who controls a firearm: 95% CIs Person who controls a firearm: Hit, less than so metimes Hit often or abused OR Lower Upper Charged in custody 0.5% 7.7% 0.06 0.01 0.68 Member of a gang 0.5% 7.4% 0.06 0.01 0.70 Sexually abuses a household member 0.5% 7.4% 0.06 0.01 0.71 Charged on bail 1.0% 11.2% 0.08 0.01 0.48 Committed a crime 1.0% 7.4% 0.12 0.02 0.92 Participates in drug trafficking 1.0% 7.4% 0.12 0.02 0.92 Harmed a household member 5.4% 14.8% 0.33 0.10 1.12 Used the gun to threaten a household member 3.1% 8.0% 0.37 0.07 1.93 Drinks alcohol in excess 7.4% 11.5% 0.61 0.17 2.27 Participates in gambling 12.3% 18.5% 0.62 0.22 1.78 Uses illegal drugs 5.4% 7.4% 0.71 0.15 3.38 Source: Study 1 Parents can repeat the parenting patterns which they learnt as a child. Parents who were never hit as a child were least likely to hit their children when a parent, 2(4, N =371) = 29.43, p <.001(Table 19)39. Table 19: Relationship between being hit as a child and the use of hitting to discipline children when an adult. As a parent do you hit your children? As a child were you ever hit as a form of discipline? No, I never hit my children Yes, I hit my children n No, never 64.3% 35.7% 28 Yes, and I would consider the beating abuse 21.7% 78.3% 23 Yes, but only when very naughty 19.5% 80.5% 128 Yes, often 19.5% 80.5% 82 Yes, sometimes 19.1% 80.9% 110 N 85 286 371 Source: Study 2 Discussion When drawing together data from different studies one must be mindful that the data were collected using different methodologi es and involved different target groups. Further, while the studies may have asked similar questions, the nua nces of the questions can be important when interpreting the data. For example, the circum stances under which the reported abuse may have occurred are not always clear; wa s it as a result of discipline or some other motive? We also note that several estimates, for say, child abuse, are sim ilar, but even when there is less agreement, the variation allows us to provide a range of valu es which may be of value for planning purposes. 39Study 2.


Draft: Violence Symposium, 3rd November 2011 Page | 22 However, while the numbers from similar quest ions vary from study to study, as would be expected, what is consistent are the associ ations between household traits (e.g.: domestic violence) and, usually, undesirable behaviours. Household behaviours It is evident that violence occurs in many home s. It is also clear that violence and other undesirable behaviours are co-occurri ng; that is, the occurrence of one behaviour is associated with an elevated chance that another undesirable behaviour will occur. Consequently, it is clear that the data point to the tangled web of violent behaviours. The behaviours of parents/adults are clearly linked with a number of as pects of concern in the life of the child but we must note that these studies do not allow us to say such behaviours are the cause of the child’s harm or anxiety. The data also indicate that exposure to violence in childhood is associated with increased risks of the grown child participating in undesirable activiti es as an adult, observa tions noted in previous studies, such as Greenfeld (1996) and,Maas et al.(2008). The observation that parents were not hit as a child were less likely to hit their own ch ildren compared with those parents who were hit, or even abused, as a child points to the intergen erational nature of viol ence within families (Covell, Grusec & King, 1995). Domestic violence As noted by Plumridge and Fieldi ng (2009) a number of actions ar e associated with domestic violence. In The Bahamas the Bahamas Crisis Centre (n.d.) has identif ied these to include hitting, slapping, pushing, sweari ng, hurting, threatening and denyi ng freedom as components of domestic violence; several but not all of these components are covered in the studies reported here. The studies indicate that domestic viol ence occurs in 20%-40% of homes. BurnettGarraway in her 2001 study of 313 females found th at 40.3% had been victims of physical abuse which is consistent with the findings from the st udies reported here. Th ese findings indicate that a large number of people, both adults and children are exposed to domestic violence and so may suffer from the behaviours associ ated victims of this type of violence. The ramifications to children as well as adults of being exposed to domestic violence are well documented. As Holt et al. (2008) state in their revi ew, “children may be significantly affected by the experience of


Draft: Violence Symposium, 3rd November 2011 Page | 23 domestic violence in their live s” (p. 807). Further, its eff ects go beyond the home and have a negative impact on society a nd the country’s economy (Krug, Dahlberg, Mercy, Zwi, & Lozano, 2002). Domestic violence was found in homes at all econ omic levels but it was more common in lower income than higher income homes. This obser vation is in agreement with Burnett-Garraway (2001) who also found that eeconomic hardship and over-crowding in the home increased the risk of females being a victim of abuse. Ch ildren are also venerable to economic hardship (Bahamas Department of Statistics, 2004), and so domestic violence becomes yet another barrier likely to adversely affect the formation of poor children. These findings reinforce the need to address poverty through improved educational attainment and employment as previously identified by Blank (2005). Plumridge and Fi elding (2009) found that domestic violence has been associated with several undesirable beha viours of household members including, substance abuse, sexual abuse and criminality. How domestic violence affects a particular child is complex and depends upon the age and sex of the child, am ong other factors (Holt et al., 2008). All the studies considered here, make it clear that once domestic violence occurs within a household, the risks of other undesirable behavi ours increases. When this violence occurs as a result of dysfunctional adult relationships, the wider issues of poor adult relationships become apparent and extend beyond the principal protagonists. The reports from school administrators of the widespread occurrence of physical, emotion and sexual violence in the majority of student homes adds to the concern th at children are surrounded by violence, even if they are not the focus of it. The long-term implicatio ns of this violence for the children is apparent when sc hool administers consider parental involvement in learning as the single most important factor infl uencing student performance in national examinations (Fielding & Taylor 2009). Other household behaviours The behaviours of parents and the worry whic h they caused children we re higher in both the physically abused and emotionally abused groups of children. These included physical violence as well as substance abuse. Again the results fr om the student survey indicated the association


Draft: Violence Symposium, 3rd November 2011 Page | 24 between physical and emotional abuse and undesirable household be haviours. Again, the actions of the adults within the home can have far r eaching effects on the child. While this is made obvious in the case of adults ki lling a child (McKenzie, 2010) there are other less blatant actions. This can be appreciated by the adult misuse of alcohol and illegal drug use. It should be noted that illegal drug use amongst children is of also concern and may also be a learnt behaviour (National Anti-drug Secret ariat, n.d.). The us e/abuse of alcohol by parents is not only a cause of worry for children, but can provide le arning opportunities for children to drink. Given that children who drink are less likely to lik e school, drinking may have a negative impact on school performance (BBC News, 2010). Household pets can encourage children to be empa thic towards animals or they can be a means by which children can learn cruelty (Ascione, 20 08). Consequently, the link between domestic violence, child abuse and animal abuse already noted in The Bahamas (Brennen et al., 2010) is important, particularly in a country where journalists are content to boast in print about how they abuse dogs (Longley, 2007). The link between animal abuse and bullying at school demonstrated by Henry and Sanders (2007) mean s that schools must be aware of the wide ranging behaviours associated with animal abuse. Therefore, there is a need for agreater appreciation of the link between animal abus e and abuse of humans (Plumridge & Fielding, 2009). Further, the laws regarding animal abuse n eed to be enforced (Fielding, Mather,& Isaacs, 2005) so that the mistreatment of animals doe s not become an avenue by which children can learn to be violent towards animals, and possibili ty ultimately towards humans (National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children, n.d.). The data clearly indicate that the mistreatment of animals can be an indicator of children being at increased risk of harm. This so-called red flag can be used in cross-reporting to assist social services and animal welfare groups to identify people and pets at risk of harm as has been done in the United States (DeGue & DiLillo, 2009). Training of children Historically, violence seems to have been an accepted and acceptable way to train children in The Bahamas (Otterbein & Otte rbein, 1973; Hahnlen, Rosado, Capozzi,& Hamon, 1997). It


Draft: Violence Symposium, 3rd November 2011 Page | 25 should be noted that mothers play the dominant role in training children. Both Hahnlen et al. (1997) and Brennen et al. (2010) no ted the disciplinarian role of mothers. While females are the key disciplinarians within the hom e, they are no more likely than males to inflict abuse on the child (Brennen et al., 2010). C onsequently, it is to be expected that females (mothers) inflict most of the violence on children; that is, the primary caregiver is also th e primary punisher; an observation consistent with Arnol d (1982) who noted “the mixture of great love and affection shown to young children, and the frequency with wh ich corporal punishment is administered [by mothers]” (p. 141). Hahnlen et al. (1997) offe r explanations why this occurs, and how the pressures that mothers face can result in them being unable to spend as much quality time with their children as they might wish. In many cases the pressures resulted from absent fathers and the need for the mothers to work. This would suggest that in striving to avoid poverty, or pay bills etc., children fail to get the care which they need to thrive. This conjecture is consistent with data presented by Plumridge and Fielding (2009) that showed that households headed by females had a lower household income than thos e headed by males. These financial burdens appear to have been compounded in the economic downturn of the late 2000s. As reported in one media article, the hardships, caused by re duced employment opportunities can cause single mothers to contemplate suicide (Rolle, 2010) an action which would have far-reaching implications for dependent children. Children are raised with violence and they are ex posed to physical violence from an early age. While their exposure to corporal punishment at home decreases with age, their chances that their overall treatment will result in abuse increases with age. About 4% of children were spanked to such an extent that the spanking was considered to be abusive. Further, spanking often was associated with an elevated risk of the child being abused, which furthe r indicates the important association between the frequent use of corpor al punishment and that punishment leading to abuse, a finding noted by Zolotor, Theodore, Chang, Bekoff, and Runyan (2008). The links between physical abuse and other und esirable activities and appear consistent with the statement of Maas et al. (2008) who stated that “physical abuse is probably the most consistent predictor of youth violence” (p. 56). These findings point to th e importance of teaching parents the potential dangers of hitting children a nd the risk of abuse to which this action exposes the child, particularly when the chil d is hit with an object.


Draft: Violence Symposium, 3rd November 2011 Page | 26 Being shouted at is a ubiquitous part of a child ’s life. Threatening and insulting were also common, particularly for children aged three and over. Threatening and insulting both tended to increase as the child got older. This gives the impression of a noise -filled home where the shouting also includes a mix of threats and insu lt. These behaviours se em to supplant physical violence as the child grows up. Again, it should be noted that all these be haviours tended to cooccur and so putting the child at risk from suffering from the longer-term problems of physical and mental abuse. The common occurrence of these behaviours is consistent with the occurrence of domestic violence, as these actions are also components of domestic vi olence. If shouting is associated with conflict, then it can be apprecia ted that shouting can esca late to severe conflict which may ultimately result in death. As was reported by Nicholls (2011), in The Bahamas “34 of the 94 murders…resulted from so me form of argument, altercati on or confrontation” (para. 2). If this is the way children learn to deal with conf lict, these statistics may just reflect the logical conclusion of the lack of conflict resolution abilities within society. While abuse was not typically defined in thes e studies, and so depended on the respondent’s perception, analysis of th e replies indicated that respondents did have a consistent idea of actions associated with abuse. Corporal punishment a nd emotional abuse (insults) were key factors in contributing to what respondents co nsidered as actions which were associated with abuse of the child. Once the child was considered to be a bused, there were elevated chances of other undesired behaviours occurring in the home. As Brennen et al (2010) pointed out; there are important differences between homes where childre n are spanked as a form of discipline and those where the spanking becomes abuse. Cons equently, it can be appreciated that abuse does not arise spontaneously within a home, but may be the manifestati on of other issues within the household, such as poor relationships between ad ults or inappropriate behaviours as well as economic challenges. Sexual abuse These studies indicated that sexua l abuse of children was less prevalent than other forms of abuse. Convictions for incest, demonstrate that children are indeed subject to sexual abuse by those whom they should be able to trust (M cKenzie, 2011). Burnett-Ga rraway (2001) found as many as 22.4% of adult females in her study had been victims of sexual abuse, but is not clear in


Draft: Violence Symposium, 3rd November 2011 Page | 27 what context this occurred. The sexual abuse of married women is a concern not only for the victim, but to the children who may witness or li ve in such a home where this violence occurs (Appel & Kim-Appel, 2006). Consequently, the failu re of Bahamian community leaders to back legislation to outlaw martial rape (Missic k, 2010) appears to have not only overlooked the possible higher risk which married, as opposed un married women, run of being abused, but also at the wider context of the effects of such abuse. However, sexual abuse is linked with other undesi rable behaviours. Children who were victims of physical abuse had an elevated risk of being sexually abused, again, indicating the interconnected nature of these events. In common with other communities, such as in the United States (Child Help, n.d.), abuse of children was most likely to be perpetrated by someone the child knew. These findings indica te that it is important for vic timisers to be reported to the authorities as their crimes may be less visible than those committed outside the home. However, for this to happen, people must get over their reluctance to get involved in what they may consider to other people ’s business (Brennen et al ., 2010). Children and violence at school Outside of home, school is probably the next most important part of a child’s life. The data available in the studies reviewed on this aspect are more limited, but suggest areas of concern which would merit further researc h. It is apparent th at activities within the home impact the performance of school children as well as activitie s at school. It should be noted that some children claimed to suffer physic al abuse both at home and at school. The conviction of a teacher for sexually abusing students (Maycock, 2011) indicates the reality of the concerns raised by students in these studies. For these childre n there is little escape from a threatening environment. Violence or the fear of violence either from sch ool officials or school mates can have important effects on the child, including lower grades, and so ultimately putting the child at risk of setting the child up to become a criminal (Ikomi, 2010). Further, when children go to and from school by foot or public tran sport, the violence or fear of violence to which they may be exposed (on the street) also becomes an important pa rt of their life. This may account for the fact these children are more likely to be armed than those who go to sc hool by private motor vehicle.


Draft: Violence Symposium, 3rd November 2011 Page | 28 Firearms appear to be kept in about 25% of homes so many children can be expected to be exposed to firearms. Depending on how adults k eep and treat the firearm, children may not or may not learn to treat firearms with respect (Carroll, Brennen & Hutcheson (2011). The presence of weapons in the home may then influe nce their view of the acceptability of carrying weapons outside the home. Clearl y, the carrying of weapons escala tes the possible harm that can occur at school and/or on the way to or from sch ool, so it is instructive to focus on those children who carry weapons40. It was noted that while safety at school was a problem for many students, not all students who broke school rules were punished, which suggests that monitoring of student behaviour may be lacking. When rules are not enforced, this can provide an opportunity for children to learn to disregard rules, and so ultimately laws. This la ck of enforcement may also encourage children to feel that they need to protect themselves. If indeed 7.4% of Junior High and Senior High School students always take weapons to school this could mean that around 2,500 students attend school armed on a daily basis. The child who carries a weapon is more likely to come from a troubled home than a child who never takes a weapon to school. This child is less likely to be given parental support to do well at schoo l and this translates into a lowe r GPA, which is also a result of the child not trying as hard as children who never take a weapon to school. These observations point to insufficient concern from the parents to motivate their children to do their best at school, and this lack of interest in the child may result from the myriad of difficulties which parents, and in particular mothers face (Hahnlen et al., 1997). Although the motor car is the most common way by which children travel to school, overall, in 15-17 years age group,14.6% of students walk, a nd 28.2% take a bus; in New Providence, 8.9% of these school children walk and 33.4% take a bus to school (Bahamas Department of Statistics, 2000). This would tran slate to about 3,900 children who e ither walk or take the bus in this age group, nationwide. As might be expe cted, children from lower quintile expenditure groups (quintiles 1 and 2) had the highest per centages of children who walked to school (23.1% and 16.7% respectively) or who used the jitney /bus (29.6% and 21.7% resp ectively) and so the children from poorer homes would be most exposed to possible violence on the streets (Bahamas 40 Blank (2005) gives an overview of violence and other related behaviours which expands on the concern of children carrying weapons noted here.


Draft: Violence Symposium, 3rd November 2011 Page | 29 Department of Statistics, 2004). The children who come from poorer homes ar e at greater risk of physical abuse and children who are physically a bused are the ones who ar e at greater risk of arming themselves. The data suggest that children may be carrying weapons to prot ect themselves from violence on the street, rather than to protect themselves at sc hool. This interpretation is consistent with the fact that poorer children have to go to school by bus/foot (on the street) and so are more likely to be abused and this group is also more likely to carry a weapon. Once weapons are brought to school, there is the possibility th at the weapons might also be used on the school grounds. This finding suggests that putting pol ice into schools (McCartney, 2007) may have been to have deployed officers in the wrong place in order to protect children. However, more research would be required to assess the effect of using poli ce officers to decrease violence in schools. The abused child as an adult When the child, who has been hit often or abused becomes an adult, that child has an elevated risk of participating in undesi rable behaviours, including crimin al activity, harming members of the household and substance abuse etc. Although th e longer-term associations of child abuse and behaviour as an adult reported here related to persons who cont rol a weapon, the associations may be of even greater concern because these persons control a weapon and so have a very evident means by which they can harm people. Th e longer-term effects of child abuse have also been noted in the United States (C hild Help, n.d.). Consequently, it can be seen that the abuse of a child may result in violent adults who can then repeat the cycle of violence on children in the home. This is clearly one of the most important, if not key aspects, of the issues associated with child abuse, many of which are noted by the U. S. Department of Heath and Human Services, Children’s Bureau (2008). Also intergeneratio nal violence (highlighted by parents who were beaten as a child also beating their children), noted by Brennen et al. (2010) and Covell et al. (1995), was again found here. The underlying li nkages of violent behaviours towards children and their increased risk of repetition in adult hood shows the importance of breaking the cycle of violence through changing parenting practices. Un less this is done, there is no apparent reason why the level of violence in so ciety should decrease. As Blank (2005) has already noted, there is


Draft: Violence Symposium, 3rd November 2011 Page | 30 the need for “programs to address shortcomings in parenting skills, including childrearing practices that emphasize hard physical puni shment and widespread abuse” (p. 35). Since 1994 there has been a government run paren ting programme. The main clients of this programme have been referrals from the Departme nt of Social Services and the courts. Some people attend voluntarily. While such a progra mme can be affective in correcting parenting practices after children have been put at risk, it does not have th e ability to prevent bad parenting from occurring through teaching prospective parents how to raise children. To be effective such programmes need to be included in the school cu rriculum and encouraged by church and social groups for those who have left school. Recommendations The recommendations of Blank (2005) are still va lid today. However, as she points out, while many interventions will be costly, the cost of not funding the interventi ons will be even more expensive. It is clear that current parenting practices result in childre n, even from a young age, being exposed to potentially abusive actions. It is also clear that the consequences of childhood abuse can have lifelong consequences. Although relatively few children may be abused, we estimate of about 4,500 abused children. These peopl e may be at particular risk of perpetuating this abuse when an adult and so in a position be th e victimiser, rather than the victim. Parenting practices need to be taught to everyone, either at school or as part as some other mandatory process as a preventative intervention so that abuse does not occur so frequently. It is clear that the authorities, the police, social services, teachers and members of society, must be alert to abuse in homes in order to not onl y protect present members of the home, but also members of future households when children beco me adults. Abuse towards, animals and any member of the household must be investigated. Children who carry weapons either to school or on the street will need to be supervised and moni tored and mentored if they are to become an asset, rather than a threat to so ciety. Substance abuse can also be used as a warning sign of other types of abuse. Therefore, it is necessary that the laws regarding subs tance abuse are enforced with the help of society. Further, criminal s and the accused, need to be monitored from being charged onwards, as these events put the home at an elevated risk of being the site of abusive


Draft: Violence Symposium, 3rd November 2011 Page | 31 behaviours, until such time as longitudinal studies are undertaken to monitor behaviour of at risk children into adulthood. Limitations of the studies All research methodologies have lim itations. The studies included in this review can be split into two groups, those which obtained information fr om school children and those in which the respondents were adults. Many of the questions included subject concepts such as worry, problem, abuse and these probably have been interpreted differentl y, not only by individual respondents, but also by particip ants of different ages. Furt her, the answers from adults concerning their childhood will be influenced by the respondent recall and events between being a child and adult. Some of the studies were non-probabilistic. Therefore, extrapolation of the results to the wider Bahamian popul ation should be made with cauti on, if at all. However, the consistency of some of the key re sults and relationships across the different datasets suggests that notwithstanding these limitations, policy makers should be able to utilise these findings for informing their decisions. We hope that at some stage prospective studies can be undertaken of the type reviewed by Maas et al. (2008) to prov ide further clarity of th e linkages described here. Acknowledgments We are grateful to the Bahamas Department of Statistics for providing info rmation especially for this investigation, the Ministry of Education fo r permission to use the data from Study 5, Terry Fountain for mission to use the da ta from Study 6 and to College of The Bahamas librarians with formatting and finding references.


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Draft: Violence Symposium, 3rd November 2011 Page | 38 Appendix 1: From the data in Study 4, the Canonical discrimi nant function coefficien ts were derived. The two largest coefficients are for “Insulted” and “Spanked” which indicates that these are the two most important aspects which distinguished an “a bused” from unabused child in the view of the respondents. Table A1: Canonical discrimina nt function coefficients. Canonical discriminant function coefficients Insulted 0.713 Hit with an object 0.444 Denied a meal 0.433 Shouted at 0.380 Forbidden to play with friends 0.204 Threaten 0.196 Denied TV 0.132 Forbidden to attend parties 0.113 Sent to bed 0.088 Given extra chores 0.063 Denied videogames 0.035 Denied access to the Internet -0.029 Given extra homework -0.047 Denied access to the computer -0.120 Spanked -0.740 Source: Study 4