In turn perpetrators and victims

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In 2008, a Statistics Canada study found that youth 15 to 24 years were four times more likely to be exposed to some form of spousal violence than adults 45 to 54 years of age.

Up to 38 % of young women and young men are exposed to physical violence in their dating life, which is a lot more than among the older couples, shows a study conducted by the Centre for the study of trauma and the mental health university Institute (CIUSSS-de-l’île-de-Montréal).


The study to be published in the journal Violence and Victims has analyzed the relationships experienced in the course of the last twelve months by more than 200 young couples from Quebec and Montreal, whose partners were older by an average of 22 or 23 years old. The researchers found that the violence experienced in these couples was often “two-way” and suffered as much by young women than by young men, the two called themselves both as aggressors and as victims.


“In fact, those who live this form of violence is bi-directional in their relationship amounted to 21% among men and 24 % among women,” says Josette Sader, first author of the study and a vocational Centre for the study of trauma.


More violence among young people


Several other major studies have already measured the significance of the spousal violence among young couples in relationship for several months. In 2008, a Statistics Canada study found that youth 15 to 24 years were four times more likely to be exposed to some form of spousal violence than adults 45 to 54 years of age. In the same year, an international study conducted in 32 countries among students and it found that a third of young women and young men had been physically assaulted by their partner during the last year.


According to the researcher, the violence is bidirectional, where both members of a couple assault each other, becoming sometimes aggressors, sometimes victims, is also present in the adult population, much less known. “But in adults, the impact and risk of injury are greater among women “, she explains.


Psychological distress


The survey conducted by the university Institute in mental health has enabled us to also identify the impact of this form of intimate violence on the mental health of youth victims. The survey shows that young people of both sexes entrusted to have experienced a form of psychological distress, including anger, anxiety, and depressive symptoms, related to a romantic relationship marked by violent episodes. The effects were more marked among young couples in relationships for a long period of time, as well as in those with a lower income or with children. “What we observe is that the psychological distress is more pronounced among those who say they are both abusers and the abused, the more that among those who say they are only victims or otherwise “, adds Mrs. Sader.


The researchers hypothesize that the violence is two-way among young couples would be more common because of the theory that young people tend to choose partners who are like them.


In the light of these findings, Ms. Saber believes that the campaigns of prevention of domestic violence, current efforts are not sufficient and that some more targeted should be deployed as soon as the school of the young, pre-teens and teens. “It would be important to have prevention programs dedicated to young people before they live their first experiences of marriage, she thinks. This must be done in a preventive way, from the beginning of high school, either in the workshops or in the course of ethics and religious culture. “

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