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Trauma Violence Abuse. 2006 Apr;7(2):93-108.

Family violence in the military: a review of the literature.

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  • 1University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, USA.


Family violence, including both child maltreatment and spouse abuse, is a public health concern in both military and civilian populations. However, there is limited knowledge concerning violence in military families relative to civilian families. This literature review critically reviews studies that examine child maltreatment and spouse abuse among military families and compares family violence in military versus nonmilitary populations. Physical abuse and neglect compose the majority of the reported and substantiated cases of child maltreatment in military families, followed by sexual abuse and emotional abuse. On the other hand, physical abuse represents more than 90% of all substantiated cases of spouse abuse in military families, followed by emotional abuse, neglect, and sexual abuse. Mixed results were found when comparing military and nonmilitary families in terms of child maltreatment and spouse abuse, in part because of a lack of consistency in policies and practices between military and civilian agencies.

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