About half of Canadian military personnel exposed to child abuse: study

OTTAWA -- A new study says approximately half of military personnel in Canada begin their service with a history of abuse in their childhood, including corporal punishment, or witnessed domestic violence as children.

See Full Article

The research, conducted by the Department of National Defence and the University of Manitoba, also found that exposure to child abuse and trauma among soldiers is proportionally higher than in the civilian population.

Health specialists were looking to understand the factors driving the series of suicides that has gripped the military.

The Canadian Press reported on the initial findings of the study a year ago after it was presented at a military medical conference, but the research was finalized and published Wednesday in The Journal of the American Medical Association - Psychiatry.

The study reports that child abuse exposure was higher in the regular forces -- at 47.7 per cent -- and higher still in reserve forces with 49.4 per cent, compared with 33.1 per cent in the Canadian general population.

"Regular Forces personnel were more likely than the (general population) to have experienced all types of child abuse exposure with the exception of sexual abuse among males," said the report.

"Reserve Forces personnel were more likely than the (general population) to have experienced any physical abuse and exposure to intimate partner violence (with the exception of females for the exposure to intimate partner violence only); sexual abuse was more likely in the reserve Forces compared with the (general population) among females in the higher income category only."

Why almost half of all military personnel in Canada have a history of child abuse exposure is not something the study was able to determine, the authors said.

Significantly, the analysis concludes the link between child abuse exposure and suicide was often "significantly weaker" in military personnel compared to civilians. But trauma early in life combined with witnessing horrors overseas does have an "effect on past-year suicidal ideation and suicide plans."

The report says the findings are significant for both soldiers and civilians, but recommends suicide prevention efforts be aimed at those who've suffered childhood trauma.

Abuse is defined in the report as being kicked, bitten, punched, choked, burned or attacked as youngsters, including sexual violence. It also includes the trauma of having witnessed "intimate partner violence" while growing up.

The new study relies on data in the mental-health portion of the 2012 Canadian Community Health Survey, which questioned more than 25,000 people, and the 2013 Canadian Forces Mental Health Survey, which is based on responses from more than 8,100 members of the military.

It follows a major study in the U.S. three years ago by the mental-health research branch of the Veterans Administration, Duke University and the University of Alabama. That research concluded that abuse, neglect and other childhood ordeals were major contributors to mental-health problems suffered by soldiers later in life.

In 2014, the Canadian Forces surgeon general Brig.-Gen. Jean-Robert Bernier told a Commons committee that the mental health of soldiers was an issue the military was struggling to understand. He pointed to the extraordinarily high rate of depression among serving members.

The new research may shed more light on that.



Advertisements

Latest Canada & World News

  • Casualties mount as Iraqi troops advance into Mosul

    World News CTV News
    MOSUL, Iraq -- "We have wounded!" the men shouted from the roadside. Two soldiers, bleeding, were being bandaged beside their smoking vehicle on the side of a dusty dirt road. Iraqi special forces Maj. Source
  • California officials work to stop Oroville Dam's outflow to clear debris

    World News CTV News
    OROVILLE, Calif. -- California water authorities will stop the outflow from the Oroville Dam's crippled spillway to allow workers to remove debris blocking a hydroelectric plant from working, officials said Sunday. The Department of Water Resources said it will start gradually reducing outflows from the Northern California dam beginning Monday morning and completely halt them by the afternoon. Source
  • Charlie Angus enters NDP leadership race [Video]

    Canada News Toronto Sun
    OTTAWA — And then there were two. Ontario MP Charlie Angus officially entered the NDP leadership race Sunday — a competition that’s expected to start heating up soon with a debate scheduled for next month in Ottawa. Source
  • Aide defends Trump's decision to skip correspondents' dinner: He wasn't elected 'to spend his time with reporters and celebrities' [Video]

    World News Toronto Sun
    Donald Trump will be working to improve the country when he skips the media love-in known as the White House Correspondents’ Association dinner. The White House says people should expect the president to spend that Saturday night in April “focused on what he can to do to help better America. Source
  • New Orleans crash suspect’s alcohol level 3 times legal limit: Cops [Video]

    World News Toronto Sun
    NEW ORLEANS — Authorities on Sunday identified the man who allegedly plowed into a crowd enjoying a Mardi Gras parade in New Orleans while intoxicated. The New Orleans Police Department issued a statement identifying the man as 25-year-old Neilson Rizzuto. Source
  • Winnipeg police find person of interest in alleged mall fluid assault case

    Canada News CTV News
    Winnipeg police say they're waiting for a forensic examination of a substance a man allegedly sprayed on a teenage girl in a shopping mall before deciding whether to lay charges. Investigators released a security image on Saturday from the St. Source
  • Phooey to ‘phobias’

    Canada News Toronto Sun
    If you suffer from a fear of phobias, these are trying times. The victim industry, the hate ’n’ fear brokers, haven’t seen a boom like this since the last world war. Our leaders, our effete elites and their Internet envoys are adding new phobias to their arsenal almost daily. Source
  • Trump's choice to be Navy secretary withdraws

    World News CTV News
    WASHINGTON -- President Donald Trump's choice to be secretary of the Navy, businessman Philip Bilden, said Sunday he was withdrawing from consideration for the post, citing concerns about privacy and separating himself from his business interests. Source
  • New Orleans crash suspect’s alcohol level 3 times legal limit: Cops

    World News Toronto Sun
    NEW ORLEANS — Authorities on Sunday identified the man who allegedly plowed into a crowd enjoying a Mardi Gras parade in New Orleans while intoxicated. The New Orleans Police Department issued a statement identifying the man as 25-year-old Neilson Rizzuto. Source
  • Community rallies to throw birthday party for autistic boy

    Canada News CTV News
    Dozens of people rallied together in Kitchener, Ont. on Sunday to make seven-year-old Landen Hart’s birthday extra memorable after news no one showed up to his original party surfaced online. “It's overwhelming,” his mother Ashley Verbakel told CTV Kitchener. Source