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Report drafted by

Nada Letić and Branka Ivanović
Banja Luka, October, 2012


Survey on Youth Experiences
in Bosnia and Herzegovina
Concerning Various Forms of
Violence and Trauma in Childhood



Survey on B&H Youth Experiences Concerning Various Forms of Violence and Trauma in Childhood




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We express our special thanks for this survey to the Nest centre staff members, as well as
to all pedagogues, psychologists and teachers in high schools throughout Bosnia and
Herzegovina who assisted in and made possible conducting this survey.


In foundation, the foundation for promoting social inclusion of children and youth in
Bosnia and Herzegovina (B&H), with the financial support of the Kinderpostzegels
from the Netherlands, conducted a survey on B&H youth experiences concerning
various forms of violence and trauma endured in childhood.


Survey on B&H Youth Experiences Concerning Various Forms of Violence and Trauma in Childhood




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Contents

Survey Goals .......................................................................................................................... 6
Methodology ........................................................................................................................... 6
Sample ................................................................................................................................... 6
Survey Results ......................................................................................................................14
Conclusions ...........................................................................................................................30
Recommendations.................................................................................................................33
List of References .................................................................................................................34















Survey on B&H Youth Experiences Concerning Various Forms of Violence and Trauma in Childhood




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Introduction

The survey on youth experiences concerning various forms of violence and trauma in childhood in
B&H has emerged as a part of the interventions linked to the activities financed by
Kinderpostzegels Nederlands in cooperation with In foundation, a foundation for promotion of
children and youth social inclusion in B&H, while relying on the project ”Today’s Children Are
Tomorrow’s Parents”. This project has activities through six centres established in B&H offering
support and empowering children that come from dysfunctional families, and amongst them, many
children experienced some forms of violence within and outside family.
In cooperation with the staff members of the centres for children at risk, the need has been
identified to acquire the specific knowledge relating to the recognition and support offering to
children who potentially may have certain negative experiences or could become victims of sexual
abuse or some other form of abuse and neglect. For that purpose, a training was conducted under
the title “Child Sexual Abuse, Recognition, Interview and Criteria for Confirmation”, led by
Gordana Buljan –Flander, Teacher, Psychologist and Psychotherapist, Director of Polyclinic for
Child Protection of City of Zagreb. The training was held in February 2012, for the staff members
of the centres for children at risk who come from multi-problem families, their associates and
representatives of relevant institutions in B&H. After the education has been conducted, we
initiated this survey with the goal to obtain a more comprehensive picture of the presence and
prevalence of various forms of violence against children in B&H.
Violence against children varies depending on their age, developmental status and the fact if, and
to which extent, the child realizes the interaction with the outside world. Thus younger children are
more exposed to the violence of their family and household members, and as they grow up and
spend more time outside their homes, it is more likely that they will be more exposed to the
violence of people outside their household or family.
Based on the definitions comparison and determining the common elements of those definitions
related to the child abuse and neglect, in 1999, the World Health Organization proposed the
definition of child abuse or misuse as “all forms of bad conduct from aspect of body and/or
emotions, sexual abuse, neglect or negligent behaviour, economic or other exploiting inflicting real
or potential harm to child’s health, survival, development or dignity, within the context of relation of
responsibility, trust and power” (Krug et al. 2002, World report on Violence and Health, Geneva,
World Health Organization).
According to this definition, we can say that there are various forms of violence against children.
For a better systematisation and for practical reasons, they can be divided into: physical,
emotional and sexual abuse and child neglect. Lately, witnessing to domestic violence is
considered as a separate form of emotional abuse.
It is important to highlight that numerous surveys exploring the children as the victims of violence
show that children often experience multiple types of abuse.
The statistics also show a considerable presence of child abuse and neglect in a large number of
countries worldwide.

Survey on B&H Youth Experiences Concerning Various Forms of Violence and Trauma in Childhood




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The data coming from the European Union countries indicate that every fifth child is the victim of
some form of sexual abuse. Every fourth girl and every sixth boy had some experience relating to
sexual abuse. Also, it is estimated that in 70-85% of cases, the abuser is someone the child
knows and whom the child trusts. The sexual violence against children can have various forms,
such as sexual violence within the family circle, child pornography and prostitution, sexual
violence by means of the Internet, as well as the sexual abuse from peers.
The Council of Europe has prepared the Lanzarote Convention – Council of Europe Convention
on Protection of Children against Sexual Exploitation and Sexual Abuse. „The Lanzarote
Convention represents the first international instrument to establish the sexual abuse of children
as a criminal offence, regardless of where and by whom it was committed – in home, the
institutions taking care of children, by means of organized crime network or by the means of the
Internet (ETS 201, 2007). At the same time, this is the first universal convention providing
recommendations on the procedures in situations of all forms of child sexual violence. The
convention came into force on the 1
st
July 2010 and is open to the EU and non EU Member
Countries for signing. Bosnia and Herzegovina signed this Convention on 12
th
October 2011 in
Strasbourg. In April, 2012, the Council of Ministers of B&H has established the proposal of
decision on ratification and the ratification procedures implementation.
In Bosnia and Herzegovina, neither systematically collected, neither consolidated statistical data
exist, nor any corresponding, valid and representative surveys, which could give the real insight
into these problems. In practice, the sporadic cases and data on various forms of abuse are
increasingly visible in the media, or through police reports, which makes us to approach this issue
with a greater importance. A similar survey conducted in the neighbouring countries motivates us
to obtain the figures for B&H as well.
We believe that this survey will provide a better insight and offer the data on the factual situation
and the presence of violence, especially concerning the child sexual abuse, and thus based on
the obtained results, it will be possible to respond more objectively and adequately to the problem
of violence and trauma in children in B&H, the consequences of which are serious and far-
reaching.


Survey on B&H Youth Experiences Concerning Various Forms of Violence and Trauma in Childhood




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Survey Goals

The main goal is to asses a general situation and incidence of violence and abuse of children in
B&H, as well as to define the frequency of its forms.

Methodology

The test battery prepared by Gordana Buljan-Flander, Teacher, Psychologist, Psychotherapist
and Director of Polyclinic for Child Protection of City of Zagreb, is used for collecting the data for
this survey. The same battery of tests is adjusted linguistically to our sample. We have left out the
scales for which we did not have any reliable data on their metric characteristics. The test battery
consisted of questionnaires on the basic demographic characteristics of respondents,
questionnaires pertaining to various forms of violence (for mother, father and others), special
questionnaire which identified forms of sexual abuse by the father, mother and others,
questionnaire measuring the level of anxiety, scales of optimism-pessimism and scales of self-
confidence.
The test battery was applied at several locations in B&H. The respondents were the students of
final, fourth grade in high schools in B&H. During the selection of high schools, we made efforts to
take care to select approximately an equal number of students from all high school. Filling in the
questionnaire was anonymous. The researcher would read the instructions on the first page of
questionnaire before the students start to fill in. Also, the respondents were told that the names
and phone numbers of organizations having the possibility to offer the expert assistance are on
the last page of questionnaire. Respondents could take that page and keep it for themselves, if
they consider such information being important for themselves.
Filling in the test took on average one school class. The students were told to put filled
questionnaires into envelopes, in order to insure the confidentiality. We took care that, on the
occasion of data collection, the respondents feel safe and they were told that obtained data are
confidential. The survey was conducted by staff members of the Centre for Children at Risk and
trained researchers, volunteers – associates in schools.

Sample

The survey sample was planned for 1000 respondents of 18 and 19 years of age from the B&H
high schools fourth grade students. Given the sensibility of the issue, one of the criteria for the
selection of respondents was their adult age, due to two reasons: a) age of maturity of the
respondents, b) ability to fill in the questionnaire without consent by parents/tutors. While
collecting the information, our goal was to make the sample as representative as possible. The
data were collected in municipalities and cities at 16 locations in B&H (graph 1).


Survey on B&H Youth Experience



Graph 1: Sample of respondent

The table 1 shows that the sample frequency does not correspond to the real situation and
planned number of respondent
territorial representation. The largest
Banja Luka and Sarajevo, followed by Tuzla, Trebinje and Zenica as the citi
with a larger population. Such a representation of
access the individual schools
by competent ministries to carr
time of the survey, late April/early
end of the school year for the high school graduates. The survey was conducted in the hig
schools lasting four years with different courses,
At the end of survey, 975 questionnaires (N=975) were statistically processed, which indicates
decrease in number of sample (25 out of

Gender Structure of Respondent
The sample comprises 54% of



172
19
100
0
20
40
60
80
100
120
140
160
180
200
City/town where survey takes place
Survey on B&H Youth Experiences Concerning Various Forms of Violence and Trauma in Childhood


respondents by place of residence
1 shows that the sample frequency does not correspond to the real situation and
respondents for individual locations, although making sure that there is
territorial representation. The largest number of respondents is from two biggest cities in
Banja Luka and Sarajevo, followed by Tuzla, Trebinje and Zenica as the citi
. Such a representation of respondents is partly a result
at the time of the survey. One of the reasons is the lack of approval
by competent ministries to carry out the survey in individual schools. The second reason is the
early May, when the schools arrange intense activities
school year for the high school graduates. The survey was conducted in the hig
schools lasting four years with different courses, mindful of the gender structure of
At the end of survey, 975 questionnaires (N=975) were statistically processed, which indicates
decrease in number of sample (25 out of the planned 1000, which is 2.5% of
Respondents
of female and 46% of male respondents, graph 2
28
58
29
82
24
32
46
135
88
City/town where survey takes place
s Concerning Various Forms of Violence and Trauma in Childhood

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1 shows that the sample frequency does not correspond to the real situation and the
making sure that there is
from two biggest cities in B&H -
Banja Luka and Sarajevo, followed by Tuzla, Trebinje and Zenica as the cities that are bigger and
s is partly a result of impossibility to
survey. One of the reasons is the lack of approval
y out the survey in individual schools. The second reason is the
intense activities for the earlier
school year for the high school graduates. The survey was conducted in the high
the gender structure of respondents.
At the end of survey, 975 questionnaires (N=975) were statistically processed, which indicates a
which is 2.5% of the planned sample)
graph 2.
88
100
62
City/town where survey takes place

Survey on B&H Youth Experience

Graph 2: Gender structure

Representation of Respondent
The number of male and female

Age of Respondents
The students aged 18 and 19
group is that they were born during the war time and their early development is marked, m
less, by growing up in the war and
close family members (graph 3)
Graph 3: Age of respondents
Female
54%
Gender
1 2
0
100
200
300
400
500
600
1986 1989
Survey on B&H Youth Experiences Concerning Various Forms of Violence and Trauma in Childhood



espondents by Gender
female respondents is represented nearly equally
18 and 19 are the majority in our sample (92%). The characteristic of this age
group is that they were born during the war time and their early development is marked, m
war and the post-war milieu. Some of them have
(graph 3).

Male
46%
Gender
2
19
553
344
48
1991 1992 1993 1994 1995
Year of birth
s Concerning Various Forms of Violence and Trauma in Childhood

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s is represented nearly equally (8% more girls).
The characteristic of this age
group is that they were born during the war time and their early development is marked, more or
have lost their parents or

3 1
1996 1997

Survey on B&H Youth Experience

Basic Characteristics of Family
The largest number of respondent
incomplete families: 10% of them live with
extended family member and 5% with someone else (graph
Graph 4: Family structure
Most respondents have one brother or
only one child are at the third place (9.6%).
brothers or sisters in the family
four members, one or two children (graph 5). These data
changes in the society, similar to other transitional countries in Eu
making a transgenerational
complicated.

Survey on B&H Youth Experiences Concerning Various Forms of Violence and Trauma in Childhood


amily Status of Respondents
respondents lives with both parents (79%), while
of them live with the mother, 2% with the
and 5% with someone else (graph 4).

e one brother or sister (52%), 27.2% have two brothers/sisters,
third place (9.6%). An insignificant number of respondent
family, indicating that the majority of the average
one or two children (graph 5). These data are in line
changes in the society, similar to other transitional countries in Europe where families are
transgenerational transfer of knowledge, skills and mutual help and support
s Concerning Various Forms of Violence and Trauma in Childhood

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while remaining 21% live in
the father, 4% live with an

ave two brothers/sisters, those being
respondents have several
erage families have three or
line with global transitional
rope where families are smaller,
skills and mutual help and support

Survey on B&H Youth Experience

Graph 5: Number of brothers and sisters

Characteristics of Sample M
Graphs 3-6: Characteristics of the sample

Almost 40% of respondents
respondents’ development and their family functioning
Given the fact that the respondent
80% were indirectly involved
battlefield). This has significantly characterized
left many families incomplete (17% war casualties) and according to
18% suffer from direct war consequences,
These data indicate that 35% of
indicators can point at these respondent
forms of exposure to violence and negative influences
no
61%
yes
39%
Refugee
Survey on B&H Youth Experiences Concerning Various Forms of Violence and Trauma in Childhood


Graph 5: Number of brothers and sisters
Marked by War Developments
6: Characteristics of the sample relating to war developments
were refugees or displaced persons, which could reflect
and their family functioning (graphs 3 to 6).
respondents of this survey were born during the war time period
in war developments (fathers and close family
has significantly characterized the family structure and dynamic
left many families incomplete (17% war casualties) and according to respondent
direct war consequences, either as a physical or psychological dysfunction.
that 35% of respondents’ families suffer from the war consequences.
respondents’ vulnerability and their possible predisposition to
forms of exposure to violence and negative influences, i.e. risk factors.
no
17%
yes
83%
Someone was
in war
no
83%
yes
17%
Someone from
the family got
killed in the
war
s Concerning Various Forms of Violence and Trauma in Childhood

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, which could reflect on the
the war time period, more than
developments (fathers and close family members were in the
structure and dynamics. The war has
respondents’ statements,
r psychological dysfunction.
families suffer from the war consequences. These
possible predisposition to various
no
82%
yes
18%
Disabled in war
of PSP in
family

Survey on B&H Youth Experience

Educational Status
Graphs 7 and 8: Educational status of
The respondents with better school
very good students, 20% of them
results below the average. The
84%, while a small number of st
Potential Risk Factors in Family
Graphs 9, 10 and 11: Family r
In the sample of our respondent
that percentage asked for expert assistance
family members when under the inf
cases, which can certainly be connected to various forms of

Survey on B&H Youth Experiences Concerning Various Forms of Violence and Trauma in Childhood



status of respondents
s with better school results prevail in the sample, around 60% are excellent and
, 20% of them have average results, 20% of the overall
average. The respondents’ motivation to further continue
number of students do not intend to continue their education.
Potential Risk Factors in Family

Family risk factors
respondents, 13% of family members have alcohol
pert assistance or received treatment. It is important to note that
family members when under the influence of alcohol are prone to aggressive behaviour
be connected to various forms of domestic violence.
s Concerning Various Forms of Violence and Trauma in Childhood

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e sample, around 60% are excellent and
the overall sample has poor or
to further continue education is among
education.

alcohol problems; only 18% of
It is important to note that the
are prone to aggressive behaviour in 58% of
violence.

Survey on B&H Youth Experience

Graph 12: Average period of alcohol consumption by close relatives
The average period of alcohol consumption by close relatives of our
their statements, lasts between 1 and 5 years.
it is about male family members and primarily these are
abusers.
Graphs 13 and 14: Mental problems

Survey on B&H Youth Experiences Concerning Various Forms of Violence and Trauma in Childhood


Average period of alcohol consumption by close relatives
period of alcohol consumption by close relatives of our respondent
their statements, lasts between 1 and 5 years. The largest number of respondent
about male family members and primarily these are their fathers and grandfathers as alcohol


problems in the family
no
82%
yes
18%
his person was
medically treated
or still is
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respondents, according to
respondents mentioned that
their fathers and grandfathers as alcohol

no
82%
his person was
medically treated
or still is

Survey on B&H Youth Experience

Graph 15: Length of duration of family members' mental illness

A total of 9% of family mem
mainly of psychotic and manic
treatment (graphs 14-17). The
different forms of dysfunction
according to respondents’ statements,
Graph 16: Types of mental disorder


30.6%
0%
5%
10%
15%
20%
25%
30%
35%
Depresija/Manija
!hat she/he was treated for"
Depressive/manic
Survey on B&H Youth Experiences Concerning Various Forms of Violence and Trauma in Childhood


Length of duration of family members' mental illness
9% of family members have been identified in the sample to have
manic-depressive nature; 72% of them are under some sort of medical
The mental illnesses of the family members
ent forms of dysfunction at a personal and family level. The psychological problems are,
s’ statements, more common in female members,
disorder
33.3%
8.3%
Depresija/Manija Psihoi!ni poreme!aj "n#sio$ni poreme!aj
!hat she/he was treated for"
Depressive/manic Psychotic Anxious Something else
s Concerning Various Forms of Violence and Trauma in Childhood

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in the sample to have mental problems,
under some sort of medical
illnesses of the family members carry a certain risk of
sychological problems are,
female members, primarily mothers.

28%
%eso &r'(o
Something else

Survey on B&H Youth Experiences Concerning Various Forms of Violence and Trauma in Childhood




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Survey Results

Of the total number of respondents in the sample (975), 74% (722) answered to a question if they
had any experiences of violence. Out of this number 65% gave a positive answer: once (8,2),
twice (18,8%), three times (19,7%), four times (12,4%) and five times (5,7%). A total of 90
respondents or 9.2% had no experience of violence. These data are similar to some other surveys
results with this topic. The fact that this question was not answered by 26% or 253 respondents
clearly shows the presence of prejudice amongst our respondents when it comes to speaking out
about this issue, as well as the feeling of shame or fear to reveal, lack of trust in possible help and
others. It all means that cultural and social factors, as well as traditional characteristics have
influenced the attitude towards this issue.
A total of 74% of respondents had a traumatic experience outside the family, while 55% of them
had a traumatic experience directly related to family functioning, which means that some
respondents had multiple trauma in and out of the family. These data indicate that violence
outside the family is more frequent, it is most probably related to violence committed by peers,
especially because they are adolescents. There are the data which underpin these results and
explain that the children who experience some form of abuse are more liable to other forms of
domestic violence as well as outside the family. It may as well be the case that the respondents
feel more comfortable to talk about their traumatic experiences outside the family in order not to
reveal the family secrets, since the family life is still a private matter in our society.
Types of violence:
Emotional violence 62%
Physical violence 58%
Witnessing to violence 43%
Neglect 27%
Sexual abuse 23,4%
The largest number of respondents (62%) has the experience of emotional abuse by mother,
father and others which implies: mockery, taunting, insulting, shouting, intimidation, criticizing,
prohibition and other. It is followed by physical abuse by frequency and it is at the second place
(58%); it implies: physical punishment, hitting, hurting, slapping. All of this indicates the fact that
this form of violence is present in our society. Being a witness to domestic violence comes at a
third place (43%), which makes a basis of a secondary traumatisation. The neglect in the family is
at the fourth place (27%) by frequency. It entails inappropriate care and inappropriate and
untimely response to the respondents’ needs. The last but not the least frequent is a sexual abuse
which is present in 23,4% of respondents, which means that nearly every fourth respondent has
the experience of some sexual abuse forms.
Only 12% of respondents, according to their statements, did not have any experience of violence,
11% of the respondents were exposed to one type of violence, while large number of respondents
had a multiple abuse, - 25% were exposed to two types of violence, 27% were exposed to three

Survey on B&H Youth Experience

types of violence, while 17% of
respondents were exposed to all kinds
Most commonly emotional and physical violence come together, as well as emotional abuse and
witnessing violence, and neglect
Graph 17: Perception of abuse in childhood
Out of the total number of respondent
stated that they are uncertain, which shows
A total of 59% of respondent
respondents were exposed to
respondents who were exposed to
respondents had multiple trauma
that those who have the experience of abuse and trauma inside
and prone to various traumatic experiences outside the family.
Graph 18: Forms of abuse
Survey on B&H Youth Experiences Concerning Various Forms of Violence and Trauma in Childhood


while 17% of respondents experienced four types of violence.
were exposed to all kinds of violence which we explored by this questionnaire.
Most commonly emotional and physical violence come together, as well as emotional abuse and
and neglect and witnessing domestic violence.
tion of abuse in childhood
respondents, 6% stated that they were abused in their childhood, 8%
, which shows respondent’s ambivalent attitude
respondents had a traumatic experience within a family
to a traumatic experience outside the family. T
were exposed to a traumatic experience is 86%, which means that some
trauma inside and outside the family. We can ex
have the experience of abuse and trauma inside family become more vulnerable
traumatic experiences outside the family.
s Concerning Various Forms of Violence and Trauma in Childhood

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es of violence. A total of 8% of
this questionnaire.
Most commonly emotional and physical violence come together, as well as emotional abuse and

that they were abused in their childhood, 8%
’s ambivalent attitude (graph 17).
a traumatic experience within a family, while 76% of
outside the family. The total percentage of
, which means that some
and outside the family. We can explain this with the fact
family become more vulnerable


Survey on B&H Youth Experiences Concerning Various Forms of Violence and Trauma in Childhood




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Table 1: Forms of abuse – behaviour of the father
Father’s behaviour Never
Once or
twice
Many
times
Often
Shouted at you for no apparent reason. 52.7% 25.3% 15.3% 6.7%
Mocked without reason. 91.9% 4.8% 2.4% 0.9%
Told vulgar words, swore at you. 81.7% 9.3% 6.5% 2.5%
Intimidated you, threatened he would do something
to hurt you. 89.1% 6.6% 2.7% 1.6%
Harshly criticized you, compared you with other
children. 62.2% 21% 9.9% 6.9%
Insulted you. 86% 6.8% 4.4% 2.8%
Prohibited a lot and imposed restrictions. 70.4% 15.8% 8.7% 5.1%
Slapped you. 65% 23.7% 8.1% 3.2%
Hit you with a hand. 68.5% 21.6% 7.2% 2.7%
Beat you with an object. 85.8% 9.3% 3.7% 1.1%
Beat you with a hand. 74.2% 16.7% 7.2% 1.9%
You had bruises as a consequence of beating. 89% 7.9% 2.2% 0.9%
Threw you down. 97% 2% 0.7% 0.3%
Physically hurt you so you needed intervention of a
doctor. 98.9% 0.7% 0.2% 0.2%
Did not provide you with food and clean clothes on a
regular basis. 98.2% 0.7% 0.6% 0.6%
Did not take you to a doctor in time. 98.2% 1.3% 0.4% 0%
Locked you up alone in a room for a long period. 97.4% 2.1% 0.3% 0.1%
Did not pay attention to you, ignored you. 90.8% 5.8% 1.7% 1.7%
Did not want to talk to you. 82.3% 10.3% 4.8% 2.6%
Criticized, insulted, threatened or shouted without
reason at others in the family. 81.8% 10.2% 5.8% 2.1%
Beat, hit or hurt others in the family. 89.5% 7.4% 1.9% 1.2%
Quarrelled with other parent. 65.1% 20.2% 10.8% 3.9%
As the most frequent ways of expressing violence by a father and which our respondents
experienced are the following: shouting without reason, harsh criticism and comparing with other
children, quarrel with other parent, slapping, saying vulgar swearwords, insulting.

Survey on B&H Youth Experiences Concerning Various Forms of Violence and Trauma in Childhood




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Table 2: Forms of abuse – behaviour of the mother
Mother’s behaviour Never
Once or
twice
Many
times
Often
Shouted at you for no apparent reason. 52.7% 25.3% 15.3% 6.7%
Mocked without reason. 91.9% 4.8% 2.4% 0.9%
Told vulgar words, swore at you. 81.7% 9.3% 6.5% 2.5%
Intimidated you, threatened that she would do
something to hurt you. 89.1% 6.6% 2.7% 1.6%
Harshly criticized you, compared you with other
children. 62.2% 21% 9.9% 6.9%
Insulted you. 86% 6.8% 4.4% 2.8%
Prohibited a lot and imposed restrictions. 70.4% 15.8% 8.7% 5.1%
Slapped you. 65% 23.7% 8.1% 3.2%
Hit you with a hand. 68.5% 21.6% 7.2% 2.7%
Beat you with an object. 85.8% 9.3% 3.7% 1.1%
Beat you with a hand. 74.2% 16.7% 7.2% 1.9%
You had bruises as a consequence of beating. 89% 7.9% 2.2% 0.9%
Threw you down. 97% 2% 0.7% 0.3%
Physically hurt you so you needed intervention of
doctor. 98.9% 0.7% 0.2% 0.2%
Did not provide you with food and clean clothes on a
regular basis. 98.2% 0.7% 0.6% 0.6%
Did not take you to a doctor in time. 98.2% 1.3% 0.4% 0%
Locked you up in a room for a long period. 97.4% 2.1% 0.3% 0.1%
Did not pay attention to you, ignored you. 90.8% 5.8% 1.7% 1.7%
Did not want to talk to you. 82.3% 10.3% 4.8% 2.6%
Criticized, insulted, threatened or shouted without
reason at others in the family. 81.8% 10.2% 5.8% 2.1%
Beat, hit or hurt others in the family. 89.5% 7.4% 1.9% 1.2%
Quarrelled with other parent. 65.1% 20.2% 10.8% 3.9%
The mothers shouted the most frequently for no reason, harshly criticised, compared with other
children, embarrassed and slapped children. The fathers more often impose restrictions, while the
mothers refuse to talk to children.

Survey on B&H Youth Experiences Concerning Various Forms of Violence and Trauma in Childhood




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Table 3: Forms of abuse – behaviour of others
Behaviour of others Never
Once or
twice
Many
times
Often
Shouted at you for no apparent reason. 62.1% 21.3% 13.1% 3.5%
Mocked without reason. 65.8% 21.5% 9.7% 2.9%
Told vulgar words, swore at you. 69.1% 18.1% 9.4% 3.5%
Intimidated you, threatened that s/he would do
something to hurt you. 81.8% 11.5% 5.2% 1.5%
Harshly criticized you, compared you with other
children. 79.5% 11.8% 6.3% 2.4%
Insulted you. 68.6% 16.7% 10.9% 3.9%
Prohibited a lot and imposed restrictions. 92.4% 4.9% 1.8% 0.8%
Slapped you. 88.7% 8.3% 1.8% 1.2%
Hit you with a hand. 87.2% 8.3% 3.3% 1.2%
Beat you with an object. 94.9% 2.8% 1.4% 0.8%
Beat you with a hand. 93.2% 3.9% 1.7% 1.2%
You had bruises as consequence of beating. 95.1% 3.4% 1.2% 0.2%
Threw you down. 97.9% 1.8% 0.1% 0.2%
Physically hurt you so you needed intervention of
doctor. 98% 1.3% 0.6% 0.1%
Criticized, insulted, threatened or shouted without
reason at others in family. 92.9% 5.1% 1.5% 0.5%
Beat, hit or hurt others in family. 96.8% 2.4% 0.6% 0.1%

The other persons outside the family the most frequently, according to respondents’ statements,
do the following: shout, mock without reason, insult, say vulgar words and swearwords, harshly
criticize and compare with other children.






Survey on B&H Youth Experiences Concerning Various Forms of Violence and Trauma in Childhood




19 19
Table 4: Sexual abuse - father

Father’s behaviour

Never Once Twice
3 and
more
times
Had sexual intercourse in front of you. 99.3% 0.5% 0.1% 0%
Kissed you on the mouth. 99.3% 0.2% 0% 0.4%
Showed you pornographic material. 99.3% 0.3% 0.1% 0.2%
Masturbated in front of you. 100% 0% 0% 0%
Touched your different parts of body in
embarrassing manner. 99.9% 0.1% 0% 0%
Touched you on genitals. 100% 0% 0% 0%
You had to touch his/her genitals. 100% 0% 0% 0%
Kissed you on intimate parts of body. 99.9% 0.1% 0% 0%
You had to put his genitals into mouth. 99.9% 0.1% 0% 0%
You were forced to have a sexual intercourse with
that person. 100% 0% 0% 0%
Touched you on breasts. 99.8% 0.1% 0.1% 0%
Kissed you on breasts. 99.9% 0.1% 0% 0%
You saw that person naked (or intimate parts of the
body). 99.4% 0.3% 0.1% 0.1%
Told you about embarrassing sexual things. 99.4% 0.3% 0% 0.2%

The most frequent ways of expressing sexual abuse by the father include:
− kissing on the mouth
− showing a pornographic material
− being a witness to sexual intercourse
− exposing a naked body or intimate parts of the body in front of respondents
− telling embarrassing sexual words



Survey on B&H Youth Experiences Concerning Various Forms of Violence and Trauma in Childhood




20 20
Table 5: Sexual abuse - mother


The most frequent ways of expressing sexual abuse by the mother include:
) exposing naked body or intimate parts of the body to respondents
) kissing on the mouth
) witnessing a sexual intercourse
) touching of breasts




Mother’s behaviour

Never Once Twice
3 and
more
times
Had sexual intercourse in front of you. 99.5% 0.4% 0.1% 0%
Kissed you on the mouth. 97.8% 1% 0.1% 1.1%
Showed you pornographic material. 99.8% 0.1% 0.1%
Masturbated in front of you. 100% 0% 0% 0%
Touched your different parts of body in
embarrassing manner. 99.9% 0.1% 0% 0%
Touched you on genitals. 100% 0% 0% 0%
You had to touch his/her genitals. 100% 0% 0% 0%
They kissed you on intimate parts of the body. 99.9% 0.1% 0% 0%
You had to put your mouth on her genitals. 100% 0% 0% 0%
You were forced to have sexual intercourse with that
person. 99.9% 0.1% 0% 0%
Touched you on breasts. 99.6% 0.3% 0.1% 0%
Kissed you on breasts. 99.9% 0.1% 0% 0%
You saw that person naked (or intimate parts of her
body). 97.3% 1.4% 0.5% 0.8%
They talked to you about embarrassing sexual
matters. 100% 0% 0% 0%

Survey on B&H Youth Experiences Concerning Various Forms of Violence and Trauma in Childhood




21 21

Table 6: Sexual abuse - others
Behaviour of others Never Once Twice
3 and
more
times
Had sexual intercourse in front of you. 97.1% 1.5% 0.6% 0.8%
Kissed you on the mouth. 87.6% 3.2% 0.8% 8.3%
Showed you pornographic material. 88.4% 4.7% 1.4% 5.4%
Masturbated in front of you. 96.1% 1.6% 0.3% 2%
Touched your different parts of the body in
embarrassing manner. 95.9% 1.6% 0.7% 1.7%
Touched you on genitals. 94.9% 0.9% 0.7% 3.5%
You had to touch his/her genitals. 97.8% 0.8% 0.3% 1%
They kissed you on intimate parts of the body. 95.4% 1.2% 0.8% 2.7%
You had to put his/her genitals into mouth. 99.2% 0.3% 0.5% 0%
You were forced to have a sexual intercourse with
that person. 98.8% 0.3% 0.2% 0.6%
Touched you on breasts. 94.8% 2.2% 0.5% 2.5%
Kissed you on breasts. 95.9% 1.3% 0.3% 2.4%
You saw that person naked (or intimate parts of the
body). 91.2% 3.2% 1.2% 4.4%
They talked to you about embarrassing sexual
matters. 94.1% 3% 1.9% 1%

The most frequent ways of expressing sexual abuse by the others include:
) kissing on the mouth
) showing of pornography material
) exposing a naked body or other intimate body parts to respondents
) touching on genitals
) kissing on intimate body parts

Survey on B&H Youth Experience

Graph 19: Undesired sexual experiences with others
The respondents, who had undesired sexual experiences
mention as perpetrators – the
number of cases these are close family members. These are the persons who are close to and
known by respondents, and they
these data are not in accordance
fact that respondents feel more comfortable to
someone else outside the family. It may be perhaps attributed also to some fo
and huge vulnerability when the perpetrator
respondent feels s/he does not have anymore any source
respondent can also contribute to some partial explanat
more directed to the interaction outside the family in broader social milieu.
Graph 20: Age of perpetrator
13
12
17
Male
*amily
mem+er
Female
*amily
mem+er
Male
mem+er
o*
e,en&e&
*amily
#ndesired se$ual e$perience with others
Survey on B&H Youth Experiences Concerning Various Forms of Violence and Trauma in Childhood


Undesired sexual experiences with others
had undesired sexual experiences with someone
the friends, acquaintances, extended family members, and in a small
number of cases these are close family members. These are the persons who are close to and
s, and they are mentioned in the largest number of cases.
accordance with the findings of other surveys, which can be explained by the
feel more comfortable to locate such traumatic developments or to blame
someone else outside the family. It may be perhaps attributed also to some fo
nerability when the perpetrator comes from close family circle and when the
oes not have anymore any source of support and protection.
can also contribute to some partial explanation of these data in the way that they are
more directed to the interaction outside the family in broader social milieu.

10
52
65
24
36
mem+er
e,en&e&
Female
mem+r o*
e,en&e&
*amily
Male
*rien&
Female
*rien&
-n#no.n
male
-n#no.n
*emale
#ndesired se$ual e$perience with others
no
55%
yes
45%
%s that person an adult"
s Concerning Various Forms of Violence and Trauma in Childhood

22 22

with someone, the most frequently
extended family members, and in a small
number of cases these are close family members. These are the persons who are close to and
the largest number of cases. Some pieces of
, which can be explained by the
locate such traumatic developments or to blame
someone else outside the family. It may be perhaps attributed also to some form of suppression
comes from close family circle and when the
of support and protection. The age of a
ion of these data in the way that they are
more directed to the interaction outside the family in broader social milieu.

38
50
-n#no.n
*emale
Male yo'
#no.
Female
yo' #no.
#ndesired se$ual e$perience with others

Survey on B&H Youth Experiences Concerning Various Forms of Violence and Trauma in Childhood




23 23
The persons with whom the respondents had undesired sexual experiences are adults in 45% of
cases.

Table 7: Violence outside family
Violence outside family

Never Once
Several
times
Someone hit/attacked me with an object (stick, stone, gun, knife,
something else) 76.4% 16.7% 6.9%
Someone attacked me physically (with hands, legs) 65% 22.2% 12.8%
Someone hurt me and I had to visit doctor 93.6% 4.9% 1.5%
Someone insulted me, called me names, told me bad words 52.1% 26.1% 21.8%
Someone I went out with (boyfriend/girlfriend) hit me 93.3% 4.6% 2.1%
Someone forced me to have sexual activities 98.1% 1.3% 0.6%
Someone raped me 99.5% 0.3% 0.2%
I witnessed someone being beaten by someone else 36.8% 22.4% 40.8%
Someone I know was murdered 81.5% 12.3% 6.2%
I experienced bomb explosion 93.7% 4.3% 2%

Table 8: Traumatic experiences within the family
Development Percentage
Average age when
development occurred
My parents divorced 7.0% 8.34
A person close to me died 52.0% 12.51
A parent is severely ill 7.0% 14.28
A parent had severe accident 6.0% 9.68
A parent consumes a lot of alcohol 5.0% 9.69
I failed a class 3.0% 16.32
I had severe accident 3.0% 12.86
I am severely ill. 2.0% 12.40



Survey on B&H Youth Experience

Graphs 21 and 22: Conversation
This topic is seldom discussed
with someone in 45% of cases. As
to their friends/peers, family members, mother,
respondents who contacted the expert person
negligible and this can be explained by the fact that the
the experts due to the fear of being labelled in
rejection. In some cases, it is po
reasons why they did not seek the help from others, the
they did not think it was necessary to contact someone, then they did not know who
contact and from whom to seek the help, then they mention shame and fear of consequences as
the reasons (graph 24). It is visible from graph 25 that in 193 cases
nothing changed for the respondent
rather immediate effect of relief (friendly conversation). Not contacting the expert persons for help
occurred due to the lack of information, non
Graph 23: Persons who are usually contacted for help
no
54%
yes
46%
% talked to someone about
my e$perience
Survey on B&H Youth Experiences Concerning Various Forms of Violence and Trauma in Childhood



Conversation on experiences faced and issue of help
discussed as it is expected, but our respondents shared their exp
cases. As seen in the graph number 23, the most commonly
to their friends/peers, family members, mother, father and relatives.
s who contacted the expert person for help after having experienced the violence is
can be explained by the fact that the respondents do not have confidence in
the experts due to the fear of being labelled in society, as well as due to
. In some cases, it is possible that there is the fear of perpetrator. While explaining the
reasons why they did not seek the help from others, the respondents mention the following: firstly,
they did not think it was necessary to contact someone, then they did not know who
contact and from whom to seek the help, then they mention shame and fear of consequences as
the reasons (graph 24). It is visible from graph 25 that in 193 cases, after confiding in someone,
respondent, which can be explained by the fact that the conversation had
rather immediate effect of relief (friendly conversation). Not contacting the expert persons for help
occurred due to the lack of information, non-existence of services and inadequate service.
are usually contacted for help
no
54%
% talked to someone about
my e$perience
no s're
12%
yes
4%
Do you feel you need help now"
s Concerning Various Forms of Violence and Trauma in Childhood

24 24


s shared their experiences
most commonly, they talked
relatives. The percentage of
experienced the violence is
s do not have confidence in
as well as due to the shame and fear of
the fear of perpetrator. While explaining the
s mention the following: firstly,
they did not think it was necessary to contact someone, then they did not know whom they should
contact and from whom to seek the help, then they mention shame and fear of consequences as
, after confiding in someone,
by the fact that the conversation had
rather immediate effect of relief (friendly conversation). Not contacting the expert persons for help
existence of services and inadequate service.

no
84%
Do you feel you need help now"

Survey on B&H Youth Experience

Graph 24: Reasons of not seeking help

Graph 25: Expectations from
The fact that 114 (13,7%) of male
indicative piece of information
unexpected in comparison to
larger number exposed to sexual abuse.
by this question or the girls are
traditional values (religion, customs, social control) and status of women in our society.


Survey on B&H Youth Experiences Concerning Various Forms of Violence and Trauma in Childhood


seeking help
from confiding in others about violence
The fact that 114 (13,7%) of male respondents experienced some form of sexual abuse is highly
ormation when compared to 80 female respondents (
comparison to the results of similar surveys which indicate that the girls are in a
larger number exposed to sexual abuse. It is questionable what the male respondent
by this question or the girls are less ready to share their experiences related
(religion, customs, social control) and status of women in our society.
s Concerning Various Forms of Violence and Trauma in Childhood

25 25


some form of sexual abuse is highly
s (10%). This result was
veys which indicate that the girls are in a
respondents understood
related to sexuality due to
(religion, customs, social control) and status of women in our society.

Survey on B&H Youth Experiences Concerning Various Forms of Violence and Trauma in Childhood




26 26
The physical abuse, according to Kocijan-Hercigonja, which is the most commonly used
definition of physical abuse, is the one that entails activities towards the person under 18 years of
age which result in a risk of serious injuries, death or severe physical consequences caused by
the persons who are responsible for the protection of a child under 18 years of age (Buljan
Flander, G. and Kocijan Hercigonja, D. (2003); Abuse and Neglect of Children, Zagreb).
This form of abuse is at the second place by frequency, but it makes most of cases, it is closely
related to other forms of abuse. The most significant connection exists between the physical and
emotional abuse by the father. The respondents abused by the father are to a somewhat lesser
degree abused as well by the others outside the family and by the mother. The physical abuse by
parents is correlated also to the neglect primarily by the father, and then by the mother, too. The
data also indicate that the physical abuse by the parents can be linked to the sexual abuse by the
father. The respondents who are neglected in the family and physically punished by the mother
are to a significant extent neglected by the mother, and then by the father. The children who are
neglected by both parents in the family are very often abused physically and emotionally by the
side of others outside the family. The children who endure the physical abuse in the family go
through that as traumatic experience inside the family, so they become more prone to and
vulnerable to all the types of abuse and traumatic experiences outside the family. As far as the
emotional plan is concerned, the most difficult experience for the respondents is the physical
abuse by the father, then at somewhat lesser degree by the mother, and by intensity, at even
lower extent – by the others, which can be explained by the authoritative and patriarchal role
which marks the traditional role model and significance of the role of father in the family.
The abuse in the family decreases the optimism in the respondents, while increasing the
pessimism significantly, which could explain the fact that the respondents’ basic confidence in
his/her parents is decreased, and thereby they lose the feeling of confidence in the other adults
generally. Very often that is why they do not seek help, since they do not expect they can get it.
The parental role in such situations is significantly disturbed and the children in the function of
time lose confidence in the protective role which the parents should offer to them and thus it
influences the increase of pessimism.
Anxiety in our respondents is considerably connected with the physical abuse first by the father,
then by the mother and at to a lesser degree by the others.
The respondent’s self-respect is negatively correlated to a physical abuse by the father, mother
and others. Subjectively, children are rather affected more by the physical abuse by the father
than by the mother, as seen in a deeper anxiety and lower self-esteem. The abuse by others is to
a lesser degree also related to anxiety and self-esteem.
The emotional abuse – according to Kocijan-Hercigonja - in the widest sense encompasses a
destructive behaviour of adults toward the child, including hostile behaviour and the absence of a
positive approach (Buljan Flander, G. and Kocijan Hercigonja, D. (2003); Abuse and Neglect of
Children, Zagreb). These are usually the children having low self-esteem and they become as
such because of their emotional abuse, treatment in a destructive manner without paying attention
to their needs, feelings and desires.
By frequency, the emotional abuse is at the first place in our survey and it is not significantly
connected with school result or aspirations towards academic accomplishments.

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27 27
The alcoholism in the family is considerably related to the emotional abuse by the father (.225**),
to a lesser extent, but however significantly, it is related to the emotional abuse by the mother
(.147**), and to an even lesser extent to the emotional abuse by others (.112**). The traumatic
experience in the family is related to emotional abuse by the mother (.204**), and with emotional
abuse by the others outside family (.159**), but not with the emotional abuse by the father.
Emotional abuse by the father is significantly related to emotional abuse by the mother, as well as
to emotional abuse by the others (.418**).
Respondents who described their fathers as emotional abusers perceived them also as physical
and sexual abusers. This pattern of father behaviour is considerably related to physical abuse,
neglect, but also to sexual abuse by mother.
There is also a weak, but statistically significant connection between the results in the
respondents who perceived the father as the emotional abuser and a sexual abuse by the others.
There is statistically significant connection of the results for the mothers whom the respondents
marked as abusing them emotionally and neglecting them, sexual abuse by the father, as well as
sexual abuse by the others.
The emotional abuse is related to other forms of violence, most commonly to neglect which
indicates that, in these families, the child needs are neglected or inadequately answered to by
both parents but to different varying degree. These results imply the assumption that the parents
who abuse emotionally the children have mutually dysfunctional relationship which results in their
weaker support and protection of a child by the parents. The patterns of negative parental
behaviour which are formed in such a way become the model for behaviour of children in the
partner relations, as well as outside the family.
The respondents having in their family milieu the experience of alcohol abuse and mental
diseases and if the parents are disabled or have PTSP are more vulnerable, they are more prone
to emotional abuse by the others outside family. The respondents who have some traumatic
experience inside family are more subject to the emotional abuse.
The results of the optimism scale are in a negative relation to emotional abuse by the mother and
the father.
The pessimism scale is more and positively related to an emotional abuse by the father, mother
and others.
The anxiety scale is considerably statistically connected to an emotional abuse by the father,
mother and others.
The self-esteem is negatively correlated to an emotional abuse by the father, mother and others.
The test results indicate that the respondents who were emotionally abused are more anxious and
have a lower self-esteem.
The neglect can be defined as a lack of an adequate care and attention of adults towards the
child. It significantly influences a normal physical and psychological development of a child. We
can differentiate between the physical, emotional, health and educational neglect.

Survey on B&H Youth Experiences Concerning Various Forms of Violence and Trauma in Childhood




28 28
The neglect of children in the family is significantly linked first and foremost to emotional and
physical abuse by the father, then to emotional and physical abuse by the mother. If the physical
and emotional abuse by one parent is present in the family, then also the physical and emotional
abuse by the other parent is present, which indicates the interdependence and abuse between
the parents, creating an unfavourable general ambience for the growth and development of
children. The respondents who experienced the neglect by the side of the father exhibit poor
school results compared to the peers, which can be explained by the fact that the role and the
involvement of father influences more academic achievements, level of inspiration and motivation
for further education than the role and involvement of the mother.
The predisposition for traumatic experiences outside family is somewhat more probable in the
respondents who were neglected by the father and mother. The respondents who were physically
and emotionally abused by both parents carry a greater subjective feeling of traumatic
experience.
The pessimism is significantly positively related to a neglect by both parents, while the optimism is
in a negative correlation.
The children neglected by their mothers are more anxious than when neglected by the fathers.
The neglect by the fathers is more significantly related to a level of self-esteem which implies that,
although children are more anxious when neglected by the mothers, they have a more stable self-
esteem than when neglected by fathers. According to these results, the contribution of the father
to building the self-esteem in children is more important than mother’s contribution.
Witnessing to violence as one of the forms of violence is at the third place by frequency and
represented in 43% of cases. This form of violence is related to all other forms of violence in the
family and it refers to both parents.
The female respondents are in a larger number the witnesses to violence within the family which
comes from a father, to a lesser extent coming from a mother and mutually – coming from both of
them.
Although they are not physically directly exposed to the violence, they perceive witnessing as
significant emotional abuse by the father as well as by the mother and are more vulnerable when
it comes to emotional abuse by the others.
The children who witness the violence very often get physically abused themselves more
frequently by the fathers, and somewhat less often by the mothers, and then by the side of others
outside family. The correlations also indicate that the respondents who witness the violence inside
family are statistically significantly more neglected by the side of their parents.
Being a witness to violence is also linked to traumatic experience outside family, and they
perceive it as the personal traumatic experience. Witnessing the violence in family is related to
alcohol abuse and to a lesser extent to mental disorders.
Being witness to violence by the father in family is related to pessimism, a bit more to level of
anxiety and it is in a bit lower correlation with self-esteem. When being a witness to violence
coming from the mother is also linked to pessimism and anxiety, but at significantly lesser extent
than in relation to the father and it does not influence significantly the self-esteem of respondent.

Survey on B&H Youth Experiences Concerning Various Forms of Violence and Trauma in Childhood




29 29
The sexual abuse according to Buljan-Flander is defined as any form of sexual contact between
a child and adult or a teenager above 5 or more years of age and a child victim (Buljan Flander,
G. and Kocijan Hercigonja, D. (2003); Abuse and Neglect of Children, Zagreb). Thereat the
adult persons can be parents, members of close and extended family, teachers, coaches and
others. The sexual abuse is at the last place by its frequency in our respondents and it is related
to all forms of abuse. According to the obtained results, the age at which our respondents had
unpleasant sexual experiences is between 8 and 16, which is in line with the results of other
surveys dealing with this issue.
Within the frame of sexual abuse, there is a higher connection primarily with emotional abuse,
neglect and physical abuse by the father. When it comes to the sexual abuse by the mother, it is
to significantly lesser extent connected to physical abuse, while the connections to the other forms
of abuse are minor ones. If one parent abuses sexually the child, also the other parent is
connected to that in some specific way. According to the other surveys, very often the parent who
is not the perpetrator is involved in the way that s/he tacitly supports the abuse by keeping the
family secret in such a way. There is the link which indicates the fact that the children who were
abused sexually by the side of the father have greater odds of being abused by the side of others,
outside family.
If a child is sexually abused outside family, at a subjective level, a traumatic experience is more
pronounced than when it is a matter of sexual abuse within family. Also, all the types of sexual
abuse within family are transferred to a wider social milieu in terms of vulnerability to all the forms
of abuse outside family.
Personal traumatic experience, as well as a feeling of traumatic experience outside family is
related to all the forms of sexual abuse, primarily by the others and then by the father.
The pessimism is deeply related to sexual abuse, while that is not the case with the optimism.
Sexual abuse of children by the father is insignificantly more related to anxiety in relation to sexual
abuse by the mother. The sexual abuse by the father has a greater influence on the decrease of
self-respect in respondents than when it is done by mother.
The studies show that children who were the victims of sexual abuse are at an increased risk of
suffering from mental diseases since that act leaves them very little control over what happened
and creates the situation of helplessness which then has the effect of a stressor, which then
influences the child’s mental development and in women it can lead to suicide, or eating
disorders, while in men, it can lead to delinquent behaviour and alcohol abuse.
According to Gordana Buljan-Flander, the experiences in childhood deeply influence the
parenthood. It is very difficult for the parents to give to the children what they themselves, as
children, did not get. The victims of abuse did not get enough love, respect, acceptance and
protection, thus they do not know how to give all of that to their children. They did not have the
chance to learn how to be a parent. Depression, anxiety and anxious attachment with low self-
respect are important predictors of transgenerational transmission of abuse. The circle of abuse is
transferred in such a way and it is repeated from generation to generation Buljan Flander, G. and
Kocijan Hercigonja, D. (2003); Abuse and Neglect of Children, Zagreb).

Survey on B&H Youth Experiences Concerning Various Forms of Violence and Trauma in Childhood




30 30
Conclusions

In Bosnia and Herzegovina, the violence is still little discussed and many forms of abuse in the
general population are not recognized as violence, especially those taking place inside family.
The information that upon individual questions, which could be marked as sensitive, a total of 26%
of respondents (N253) did not respond, tells about the presence of shame, fear and prejudice
when talking about this topic in public.
The respondents who answered the question on experiencing violence earlier in life (65%) report
that they experienced the following forms of violence by frequency: emotional abuse (62%),
physical abuse (58%), witness to violence (43%), neglect (27%) and sexual abuse (23,4%).
Younger children are more often exposed to physical violence within family, whereas older
children are more exposed to sexual violence.
The respondents who stated that they suffered violence have been in most cases abused multiple
times during a long-term period, which indicates the tendency of repetition and that it was chronic,
thus the individual forms of violence rarely appear in isolation, but they are intertwined with other
forms.
The findings of this and similar surveys indicate that children are commonly threatened by the
closest family members or the people that are close and familiar to children.
Over 80% of respondents suffer indirect consequences of war developments, which is also
reflected in the family structure (17% incomplete families), and it is even more important for its
functioning in terms of addiction problems, mental disorders, post-trauma disorders, which
altogether contributes to various forms of violence inside and outside family, as confirmed by our
survey results.
The survey shows that incompleteness of family does not jeopardize its functionality and that such
families are not necessarily dysfunctional or with issues. None of the forms of violence is
statistically significantly represented in the incomplete families compared to the complete ones.
The most common forms of violence perpetrated by the parents, which the respondents
experienced, are primarily emotional, physical and then witnessing violence. Similar patterns of
violent behaviour are manifested by both parents; the only difference noticed is that the mothers
emotionally punish children by silence, while the fathers do it by imposing restrictions. The survey
results indicate that the usual communication in some families is marked by various forms of
violence, thus these patterns of repetitive behaviour are learned by model and are transferred
also to the other partner relations.
The violence in the family is the most commonly committed by the father and/or mother and it is
manifested through reasonless shouting, harsh criticism, comparison with other children, cursing,
insulting and slapping.
The emotional abuse is the most common form of abuse by the side of others outside family, and
it is manifested in the form of mockery, insult, swearwords, harsh criticism, shouting and
inappropriate comparisons.

Survey on B&H Youth Experiences Concerning Various Forms of Violence and Trauma in Childhood




31 31
The results indicate a significant mutual connection between the individual forms of violence. The
physical abuse is most commonly associated with the emotional one, while the neglect is
significantly connected to being a witness of violence. Also, the emotional abuse and being
witness to violence have a significant correlation. This additionally confirms the fact that the
isolated forms of violence appear rarely, but they are mutually intertwined and connected in
specific ways. All of that additionally confirms the fact that the children who are the victims of
violence in most cases suffer multiple abuses.
According to our information, sexual abuse is least present compared to the other forms of
violence. In our survey, the results show that not a single case of explicit sexual act was identified,
but the respondents mainly reported exposure to pornographic contents, being witness to intimacy
of others, listening to unpleasant sexual words and exposure to parents’ nakedness. Some
inappropriate and reported forms of behaviour are related to inappropriate touching of intimate
body parts by parents. The interesting information of this survey is related to a large number of
male respondents who stated they were sexually abused (30,6 %) in relation to female
respondents who had negative sexual experience (17,5 %). This information can be explained by
age of respondents and need to exaggerate first sexual experiences (boasting), by question of
perception of what is traumatic at their age, and it can also be consequence of imprecisely
defined questions, as well as of fact that the open conversation on this topic is less present in the
public compared to western societies. Significant number of respondents did not respond to this
question either, which can indicate lack of readiness to talk openly about this topic. When it is
about the others outside family, there was insignificant number of explicit sexual contacts, then
exposure to pornographic material, showing intimate body parts by others. Something that is in
accordance with the other surveys is the fact that the largest number of undesired sexual contacts
with others was experienced with persons outside family who are known to or close to
respondents. Nearly half of those perpetrators were persons of age (45 %).
The largest number of respondents had the traumatic experiences in the period from 8-16 years
of age. In most cases, inside family, these experiences are related to death or severe disease or
divorce of parents. The data indicate that the respondents who were exposed to traumatic
experiences in the family were more subject to experiencing violence outside family.
The data from our survey indicate that the traumatic experiences are little discussed, which is
shown by the data that 54 % of respondents did not speak to anyone about their traumatic
experiences. The majority of respondents (84 %) thinks that they do not need any type of help,
which can be explained by not recognizing how difficult and far-reaching consequences such
behaviour has on normal growth and development, as well as by the lack of readiness to talk
about violence in our society.
The traumatic experience outside the family is more represented from aspect of percentage and
more present in our respondents, while the traumatic experience which occurs inside family is
emotionally deeper by its strength and more important for the development of personality of a
child.
The anxiety and pessimism, as well as mental diseases and alcohol abuse in family are in a
positive correlation with all the forms of abuse. The respondents who experienced any form of
violence exhibit a higher level of anxiety and are more pessimistic for the future and have lower

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self-respect. Personal traumatic experiences are also in positive correlation with anxiety and in
negative correlation with self-respect.
We can presume that there are more objective data on violence in B&H than the results obtained.
Certain number of marginalized children, such as the Roma children or children with special
needs, are not comprised by this and similar surveys. On their educational path, these groups of
children very often do not reach the final grade of high school, but they interrupt their education
and finish it earlier, and, due to their vulnerability and specific life circumstances, they are often
highly exposed to all forms of violence.
Although the role of family should be protective in the process of growth and development of a
child, the privacy and autonomy of family often hides dark secrets which jeopardize the child basic
needs and rights. Domestic violence often takes place under the guise of disciplining the children.
Regardless of the form, violence has the crucial influence on child psychological development,
especially when it comes from adults important and close to the child. The parents themselves
often do not have knowledge or skills how to substitute such forms of disciplining.
From the mentioned results, we can conclude that some forms of violence are generally accepted
forms of behaviour and are considered socially acceptable, which indicates that cultural and social
factors, as well as settled traditional characteristics significantly influence the relations,
understanding and acceptance of violence in the society.
















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Recommendations

→ Informing the public and raising awareness of social community members on all types of
behaviour treated and recognized as violence with an aim of reducing and suppressing
violence through educational programmes through different media.
→ Encouraging changes in the perception of society that violence is not a ‘’private matter’’ of
an individual and family.
→ Training media staff on the protection of children when reporting on them, especially when
it comes to children who are victims of sexual violence.
→ Initiating policies and procedures and establishing referential system for protection of
children against violence.
→ Advocating adequate and consistent enforcement of laws that treat the issue of violence.
Informing society members on the legislative framework.
→ Promoting capacities for monitoring and establishing a systematic collection of data on
violence.
→ Ensuring data exchange and cooperation between all the stakeholders with aim of
prevention and reduction of violence.
→ Offer the parents educational programmes that provide models of nonviolent disciplining of
children, adequate communication, better understanding of their needs and learning about
appropriate ways of meeting their needs.
→ Establishing social support and prevention programmes for families at risk.
→ Timely and adequate informing of youth by parents, teachers and community members on
the recognition and protection against various forms of violence.
→ Development and implementation of programmes for prevention of violence amongst
children and youth.
→ Encouraging the establishment of zero tolerance to violence in schools and amongst
peers.






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List of References:

1. Buljan Flander, G. (2007). Izloženost djece nasilju-jesmo li nešto naučili? (Exposure of
Children to Violence-have we learned anything?) Psychology and violence in
contemporary society – Collection of works of scientific-expert conference Psychology of
Violence and Abuse.
2. Buljan Flander, G. and Kocijan Hercigonja, D. (2003). Zlostavljanje i zanemarivanje djece.
(Abuse and Neglect of Children) Zagreb: Marko M. usluge d.o.o.
3. Pećnik, N (2003) – Međugeneracijski prijenos zlostavljanja djece (Intergeneration
Transmission of Child Abuse). Zagreb: Naklada Slap.
4. Pinheiro, P. S. (2006). Report of the Independent Expert for the United Nations’ Study of
Violence against Children
5. Popadić, D. (2009). Nasilje u školama. (Violence in Schools). Institute of Psychology.
Beograd and UNICEF, Serbia.
6. UN Study on Violence against Children – Global Submission by the International Save the
Children Alliance, Save the children Norway (2005).
7. World Health Organization (2002). Preventing violence. A guide to implementing the
recommendations of the World report on violence and health, Geneva
8. World report on violence and health, Edited by Etienne G. Krug, Linda L. Dahlberg, James
A. Mercy, Anthony B. Zwi and Rafael Lozano, World Health Organization, Geneva (2002).