An estimated 250 000 child soldiers currently suffer from abuse around the world. Some children exposed to traumatic events as child soldiers are more likely to experience feelings of revenge and are less open to the idea of reconciliation, according to German researchers. A total of 169 Ugandan and Congolese former child soldiers were interviewed in African rehabilitation centres, and symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) were assessed. The mean age of the participants was 15.3 years and the mean age of recruitment into the armed forces was 12.1 years. Reported traumatic experiences included being a witness to shooting or wounding, and having been beaten or forced into sexual contact. Over half reported having killed someone.
Publication of your online response is subject to the Medical Journal of Australia's editorial discretion. You will be notified by email within five working days should your response be accepted.