A systematic review of risk and protective factors associated with family related violence in refugee families

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Fifteen studies were included to assess the risk and protective factors associated with family-related violence in refugee families. A number of risk and protective factors at the individual, family, societal, and cultural level were determined.

Refugee families often experience family-related violence upon resettlement. This systematic review aimed to identify both risk and protective factors for family-related violence, including domestic abuse, sexual abuse, child abuse, emotional abuse, and neglect. Participants were represented from over fifteen countries of origin, as well as six resettlement countries. Individual risk factors for violence included parental trauma, substance abuse, and history of child abuse. Family-level risk factors included the quality of parent-child interaction, family structure, and stresses regarding acculturation. Societal and cultural level risk factors included low socioeconomic status and patriarchal belief systems. In contrast, protective factors included positive parental coping mechanisms. The authors conclude that this data suggests that interventions targeting family-related violence should be available for the entire family, not just for the individual experiencing violence. Limitations include the heterogeneity of the study population, the different definitions of family-related violence, and the often unclear distinctions between refugees and immigrants identified as study participants.

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