Children who run away often suffered more abuse at home than on the streets after they left, a University of Connecticut study said Saturday.
The study said that most runaway children are physically or sexually abused at home and suggested many do not return home because they find less abuse on the streets.Sixty-seven percent of the male and female runaway children interviewed at Covenant House in Toronto said they were abused after running away, while 86 percent said they had been abused at home.
The Rev. Mark-David Janus, a Catholic priest and graduate assistant in psychology at UConn, said runaway children are "not confined as they are at home and the perpetrator can be avoided."
Nearly all the female runaways interviewed said they had been physically abused before leaving home and nearly one in three children said they had been threatened with a weapon at least once while at home.
More than one in 10 children said they had been intentionally burned or hit hard enough at home to require hospital treatment, and sexual abuse was common, the study said.
The study was commissioned by the Toronto shelter and done by Janus and Francis X. Archambault, head of UConn's educational psychology unit, and doctoral student Lesley Walsh.
Reseachers who announced the results of the study did not disclose the number of children interviewed.