Child maltreatment as perceived by Arab students of social science in The West Bank

Muhammad M. Haj-Yahia*, Ron Shor

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

35 Scopus citations

Abstract

There is a dearth of knowledge about the problem of child maltreatment in Arab societies. In the West Bank and Gaza Strip, the Palestinians are facing the challenge of establishing their own social welfare system as a result of signing the Declaration of Principles with Israel. In creating services for families and children, the helping professionals in these areas find that one of the main challenges is to integrate and apply knowledge accumulated in Western countries into a different sociocultural context. Another challenge is to develop knowledge on this subject congruent with their own cultural background. Because of this lack of knowledge, a study was conducted among 353 students in the helping professions in the West Bank. An instrument constructed for this study was utilized to examine the following subjects: (a) students' perceptions of situations of child maltreatment; (b) their awareness of signs of maltreated children; (c) their awareness of risk factors which could be related to this problem; and (d) their willingness to report cases of child maltreatment. The results indicate a high level of agreement among students in viewing situations of abuse as well as neglect as maltreatment. Differences were found in their willingness to report situations of maltreatment. A higher tendency was found to report situations of abuse rather than neglect. An inclination was found among students to minimize social and cultural factors as risk factors and to disregard signs that did not contain explicit signals of danger as characteristics of maltreated children. Implications for the development of services in Arab societies are discussed.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)1209-1219
Number of pages11
JournalChild Abuse and Neglect
Volume19
Issue number10
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 1995

Keywords

  • Child maltreatment
  • Social sciences
  • West Bank

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