Child Maltreatment and Intimate Partner Violence Among Indigenous and Non-Indigenous Canadians

Abstract

Indigenous peoples of Canada face an elevated risk of intimate partner violence (IPV) compared to non-Indigenous Canadians. Few empirical studies have been conducted to understand this elevated risk, and none have examined child maltreatment (CM) as a predictor. This study used data on a nationally representative sample of 20,446 Canadians to examine CM and proximal risk factors for IPV against Indigenous and non-Indigenous respondents. Results showed that Indigenous respondents had greater risk of experiencing both CM and IPV. All three forms of CM (exposure to violence, direct physical and/or sexual abuse victimization, as well as both exposure and direct victimization) were associated with increased odds of IPV in adulthood. CM along with proximal risk factors accounted for Indigenous peoples’ elevated odds of IPV (AOR = 1.62; NS). These results were consistent with the theory that Indigenous peoples’ elevated risk of IPV is largely due to effects of historical trauma from past and continuing colonization. Reducing Indigenous peoples’ disproportionate risk of IPV requires efforts to reduce CM and its negative developmental effects among Indigenous peoples as well as resolving the manifestations of historical and contemporary trauma within Indigenous society.

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Notes

  1. 1.

    This research was supported by funds to the Canadian Research Data Centre Network (CRDCN) from the Social Science and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC), the Canadian Institute for Health Research (CIHR), the Canadian Foundation for Innovation (CFI), Statistics Canada, and a University of Manitoba/Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada Research Grant. Although the research and analysis are based on data from Statistics Canada, the opinions expressed do not represent the views of Statistics Canada or the Canadian Research Data Centre Network (CRDCN).

  2. 2.

    To ensure that the sample was representative of the Canadian population and to account for the complex sampling design of the 2014 GSS, in all analyses the results were weighted and bootstrapped using STATA 13 with the person weight and bootstrap weights provided by Statistics Canada.

  3. 3.

    This variable was coded dichotomously because it was derived from combining two frequency variables, which rendered impractical maintaining the frequency categories.

  4. 4.

    Interested readers are invited to contact either Dr. Emery or Dr. Brownridge for an appendix that details the simulations that were conducted on methods for comparing differences between logistic regression coefficients across two groups.

  5. 5.

    In a study that focused only on post-separation violence against women, it was found that controls for age, an index of coercive control, and stalking by the ex-partner removed the significance of Aboriginal women’s odds of post-separation IPV relative to non-Aboriginal women (AOR = 1.92; p = .09; Pedersen et al., 2013). When the focus is only on post-separation violence, where the motives for men’s use of violence are theorized to be more proximal (Brownridge 2006), it is theoretically reasonable that proximal risk factors could account for Aboriginal women’s elevated odds of victimization.

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Brownridge, D.A., Taillieu, T., Afifi, T. et al. Child Maltreatment and Intimate Partner Violence Among Indigenous and Non-Indigenous Canadians. J Fam Viol 32, 607–619 (2017). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10896-016-9880-5

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Keywords

  • Colonization
  • Intimate partner violence
  • Child abuse
  • Indigenous
  • Aboriginal
  • Violence
  • Abuse