FSD2787 Safety of Children 2011

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  • Ellonen, Noora (Police University College)


assault, bullying, child safety, children, crime victims, crimes against persons, crimes against property, domestic violence, family environment, parent participation, parent responsibility, parents


The survey studied the safety and insecurity experienced by Finnish children aged under 13 as well as parents' views on raising children. The survey was aimed at the parents/guardians of children and the questions were about one child selected for the sample. Topics studied included economic circumstances, health of the child, parenting, and violence or other illegal activity experienced by the child.

The respondents were asked whether and to what extent they were worried about their economic circumstances, whether their child suffered from any long-term illness or health problem, whether the child required special support or care, whether the child had ever been hospitalised as a result of an accident, and whether the accident had resulted in permanent disability.

Relating to parenting, the respondents were asked whether they emphasised certain things in raising the child (e.g. fairness, honesty). Concerning conflicts with the child in the previous 12 months, the questions surveyed whether the respondents had tried to resolve the conflicts by discussing and reasoning, whether they had become angry or upset (e.g. cried in front of the child, swore and snapped at her/him), whether they had threatened or physically hurt the child (e.g. said hurtful things, pulled her/his hair, slapped or hit her/him), and whether they had used other means to resolve the conflict (e.g. used misdirection, forbade them to play with their friends). The respondents were also asked how they had felt during the most recent conflict with the child and whether they had needed or received professional help in parenting.

The respondents' childhood and teenage experiences of corporal punishment were charted as well as opinions on the acceptability of different forms of corporal punishment in different situations. Knowledge of the legal status of corporal punishment in Finland was surveyed. The respondents were asked whether they had ever had to intervene in order to protect their or someone else's child from violence, negligence, hurtful language or sexual abuse.

Children's experiences of violence and other illegal activities was studied. The questions presented examined whether the child had been a victim of a crime (robbery, theft, assault) or bullying, and relating to each of these, the respondents were asked how many such incidents had occurred in the previous 12 months, how the respondents had found about the most recent incident, how many perpetrators there had been, who had been the main perpetrator, where the incident had happened, and whether any authorities had been notified. Relating to incidents involving violence, the respondents were asked what kind of injuries the child had sustained, and whether the injuries had had to be cared for by a health professional. Incidents of domestic violence witnessed by the child were examined by asking whether the child had seen the respondent being physically hurt by their spouse/partner or vice versa, and whether the child had seen her/his siblings being hurt by the respondent's spouse/partner.

Finally, some questions were presented to families where the child's biological parents lived separately for some reason. Questions charted the respondent's relationship to the child and the other parent, whether the child met the other parent without the respondent's presence, and whether the respondent knew or was worried about that the child might be hurt or threatened during these meetings. The respondents who had a joint custody of the child with the other parent were asked whether the other parent had ever prevented the child from spending time with or contacting the respondent, how often the respondent had prevented the child from seeing or contacting the other parent, and how often this had happened in the previous 12 months.

Background variables included the respondent's marital status, household composition, housing tenure, year of birth, education level, and own and spouse's economic activity as well as the child's gender, year of birth, region and major region of residence, and degree of urbanisation of the municipality of residence.

Study description in machine readable DDI-C 2.5 format

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