Pathways Between Childhood Trauma, Intimate Partner Violence and Harsh Parenting: Findings from the UN Multi-Country Study on Men and Violence in Asia and the Pacific


What Works to Prevent Violence Global Programme

Our Director, Dr Emma Fulu, was the lead author and research coordinator, with contributions from our Research Associate Sarah McCook, on this research into the pathways between childhood trauma, intimate partner violence and harsh parenting practices.

Child maltreatment and intimate partner violence (IPV) are global public health issues. While violence against children (VAC) and violence against women (VAW) have generally been addressed separately, more recently researchers and practitioners have focused on the intersections of violence. The aim of this article was to move beyond looking at linear associations between VAC and VAW, and to capture the complex and intersecting pathways that connect these forms of violence.

This article presents data from the UN Multi-country Study on Men and Violence in Asia and the Pacific, which surveyed 10,178 men and 3,106 women across six countries in the region between 2010 and 2013. The study identified a co-occurrence and cycle of abuse, with childhood trauma increasing the risk of experience or perpetration of violence during adulthood. Structural equation modelling found significant, often gendered, pathways between men’s and women’s perpetration and experiences of childhood trauma, physical IPV, harsh parenting practices, and other factors. These findings indicate that efforts to prevent both forms of violence would benefit from a meaningful integrated approach. Prevention efforts should promote positive parenting, address the normalisation of violence across the life course, and transform men’s power over women and children.

Access the report here.