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Prevalence of Key Forms of Violence Against Adolescents in the Arab Region: A Systematic Review

      Abstract

      Purpose

      This article presents a systematic review of the prevalence of violence against adolescents in the 22 countries of the Arab League.

      Methods

      Data on physical and emotional child maltreatment, sexual abuse, bullying and fighting, violence in schools, and intimate partner violence against adolescent girls were retrieved using: (1) a systematic search for peer-reviewed journal articles using Medline and the Social Sciences Citation Index; and (2) a search for nationally-representative, population-based surveys.

      Results

      Published evidence suggests that physical, sexual, and emotional violence against adolescents is widespread in the Arab region. In many studies, prevalence rates exceeded other regional or global estimates, including rates of violent discipline, fighting, and intimate partner violence against adolescent girls. Data on certain forms of violence (e.g. violent discipline) are available from many Arab countries; but data on other forms, e.g., sexual abuse, are scarce. Most peer-reviewed journal articles are based on small studies with diverse operational definitions and methods, making comparisons challenging.

      Conclusions

      High rates of violence against adolescents in the region merit greater attention from policy makers concerned with determinants of adolescent health. There is also a need to expand and improve the quality of quantitative and qualitative research on violence against adolescents in the region.

      Keywords

      Abbreviations:

      CRC (Convention on the Rights of the Child), DHS (Demographic and Health Surveys), GSHS (Global School-based Student Health Survey), IEA (International Association for the Evaluation of Educational Achievement), MICS (Multiple Indicator Cluster Surveys), ODK (Open Data Kit), PRISMA (Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses), SDGs (Sustainable Development Goals), SSCI (Social Sciences Citation Index), TIMSS (Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study), UNICEF (United Nations Children's Fund), UN (United Nations), WHO (World Health Organization), VAC (Violence against children and adolescents)
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