Child Sexual Abuse in Lebanon during War and Peace


Usta, Jinan, Jo Ann M. Farver, and Lama Zein. 2010. “Child Sexual Abuse in Lebanon during War and Peace.” Child: Care, Health and Development 36 (3): 361–68. doi:10.1111/j.1365-2214.2010.01082.x.

Authors: Jinan Usta, Jo Ann M. Farver, Lama Zein


Purpose Child sexual abuse (CSA) is rarely addressed in the Arab world. This study examined the prevalence, risk factors and consequences associated with CSA in Lebanese children before, during and after the 2006 Hezbollah-Israeli war.
Method A total of 1028 Lebanese children (556 boys; 472 girls) were administered an interview questionnaire that included the International Child Abuse Screening Tool, the Trauma Symptom Checklist and the Family Functioning in Adolescence Questionnaire.
Results In total, 249 (24%) children reported at least one incident of CSA; 110 (11%) occurred before the war, 90 (8%) took place in the 1-year period after the war to the time of the data collection and 49 (5%) occurred during the 33-day war. There were no gender differences in CSA reports before or after the war, but boys reported more incidents during the war than did girls. Girls who reported CSA had higher trauma-related symptoms for sleep disturbance, somatization, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and anxiety than did boys. There were geographic differences in the reports of abuse that may be associated with poverty and living standards. Logistic regression analyses correctly classified 89.9% of the cases and indicated that children’s age, family size, fathers’ education level and family functioning significantly predicted CSA during the period following the war.
Conclusions The prevalence of CSA in the current study is within the reported international range. Given the increase in the incidents of CSA during the war and the significant findings for family-related risk factors, there is an urgent need to provide multi-component culturally appropriate interventions that target the child and the family system in times of peace and conflict.

Keywords: child sexual abuse, family functioning, Lebanon, trauma symptoms, war

Topics: Armed Conflict, Gender, Girls, Boys, Health, Mental Health, PTSD, Trauma, Sexual Violence, Sexual Exploitation and Abuse Regions: MENA, Asia, Middle East Countries: Lebanon

Year: 2010

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