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Washington State Institute for Public Policy
October 1993
A recent study conducted in Washington State of young women who were pregnant or parenting teens found that 66 percent of the young women surveyed who became pregnant as teenagers were sexually abused (Boyer and Fine 1992). The high rate of abuse found in this study prompted new questions, relating to physical and sexual abuse, to be asked in the Family Income Study's fifth year interviews of public assistance and at risk comparison samples. This paper reports on findings concerning the physical and sexual abuse of women on public assistance in Washington State while they were growing up. Sexual abuse in the Family Income Study questionnaire was defined as: unwanted touching, sexual assault, or rape by a family member or others. Physical abuse was defined as: being hit, kicked, punched, or beaten up, other than the occasional spanking, by parents or guardians.
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