Children’s exposure to trafficking, sexual exploitation and community-based violence in Canada: A narrative summary and policy perspective
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BACKGROUND: Given the formidable health burdens associated with children's exposure to community-based violence (CBV) and trafficking and exploitation (TE), continued investments in determining their epidemiology constitute an important focus for Canada. OBJECTIVE: The objective of the present study is to provide a narrative summary and policy perspective concerning the quantitative studies reporting on the risk and protective factors and prevalence of children's (<18 years) exposure to CBV and TE in Canada. METHODS: To identify literature, we searched eight electronic databases. English and French citations from database inception to December 2018 were included; this was supplemented with citation chaining for peer-reviewed publications and grey literature up to December 2019. Evidence is synthesized via a narrative summary. RESULTS: There are few studies that have investigated children's exposure to TE and CBV in Canada. Self-reported exposure to these forms of violence varies according to the type investigated, with estimates ranging from 2 % - to - 23 % and 5 % - to - 53 % for TE and CBV, respectively. Literature focused on risk and protective factors for these forms of victimization are also limited. CONCLUSIONS: Canada has the infrastructure in place to make significant gains in their data collection and monitoring of children's exposure to TE and CBV via five national-level studies. To help realize the goal of ending all forms of violence against children by 2030, incorporation of reliable measures of these forms of exposure in new and ongoing national-level data collection systems is urgently needed.
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