Chapter 5: COVID-19 pandemic, child maltreatment, and gender in the MENA region
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The chapter investigates the effect of child gender on the experiences of physical, psychological and sexual childhood maltreatment, by studying and contrasting the international and MENA literature and conveying the implications for advancing practice and child health outcomes. The chapter provides implications for practice for healthcare professionals, social workers and appropriate policy development and sheds light on required future research studies giving attention to the COVID-19 pandemic where relevant. Overall, the study shows that gender influences the overall prevalence of all childhood maltreatment types in the State of Qatar as it does internationally. Females are much more exposed to psychological and sexual abuse, though not statistically significant, where males reported greater exposure to physical abuse. In addition, there is a clear reluctance in identifying the perpetrator for any form of violence by children demonstrating unease about disclosing such sensitive details which can be postulated to be explained by the Arab culture that values the family’s honor above the individual. The chapter highlights the importance of conducting research investigating the gender-specific effect on childhood maltreatment that can be used in constructing targeted preventive campaigns and response from health, education and social sectors.

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