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Three out four young adults in Uganda experienced some form of violence in childhood

Homeless children sleeping along the streets. (FILE PHOTO)

KAMPALA– Three in four young adults in Uganda have experienced some form of violence during their childhood, a new survey has revealed.

According to Uganda’s first ever Violence Against Children Survey, launched August 9 by the Government of Uganda and its partners one in every three young adults have also experienced at least two forms of violence – of either sexual, physical and emotional violence – during childhood.

The survey report titled; Uganda Violence Against Children (VAC) Survey provides nationally representative data on the prevalence, nature and consequences of physical, emotional and sexual violence against children in Uganda, and provides sub-national estimates of violence against children.

Hajat Janat Mukwaya, Minister of Gender, Labour and Social Development said  the report reveals that majority of young adults – 6 in 10 females (59%) and 7 in 10 males (68%) – experienced physical violence during their childhood, with nearly half experiencing it at the hands of parents or adult caregivers.

“This survey brings to light the widespread nature and problem of violence against children in the country,” said Ms Mukwaya.

She explained that the findings provide crucial evidence that will help guide the Government in our policy and programme decisions to better prevent and respond to violence against children across the country in the future.

The survey was conducted by the Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development with support from AfriChild Centre for Excellence, ChildFund, PEPFAR, Transcultural Psychosocial Organisation Uganda (TPO), Uganda Bureau of Statistics (UBOS), USAID, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and UNICEF.

The survey further highlights that violence against children occurs at all levels of Ugandan society – in homes, schools and communities, among other places – with survivors suffering negative physical, mental, social and cognitive consequences.

It also stresses that children who experience violence are more likely to become perpetrators of violence against children themselves in the future, fueling an inter-generational cycle of violence in the decades to come.

“The findings of this survey make it shockingly clear – Ugandan children commonly experience violence, which often harms their development and, in some instances, devastates their lives,” said Dr. Doreen Mulenga, UNICEF’s Representative to Uganda.

“This situation must therefore serve as a call to action to all people who influence children across Uganda – especially those responsible for nurturing them, such as parents and teachers – to change their attitudes from tolerating and committing violence against children to rejecting it and holding all of those who perpetrate it accountable,”  Reads the report in part.

Uganda becomes the latest among several countries such as Swaziland, Tanzania, Kenya, Zimbabwe, Haiti, Cambodia, Malawi, Nigeria, Zambia, Laos, Rwanda, Botswana, Honduras and El Salvador, that have completed data collection for similar Violence Against Children Surveys. Ends

Some of the key findings from the survey include:

General findings:

  • 3 in 4 young adults experienced some form of violence during childhood
  • 1 in 3 young adults experienced at least two forms of violence – of either sexual, physical and emotional violence –   during childhood
  • Half of all 18-24 year old Ugandans believe it is acceptable for a man to beat his wife

Sexual Violence

  • Among 18-24 year olds, 1 in 3 females (35%) and one in six males (17%) experienced sexual abuse during their childhood
  • 1 in 4 young adults who experienced sexual abuse during childhood first experienced it at the age of 13 or younger
  • Children who suffered sexual abuse experienced higher mental distress than children who didn’t

Physical Violence

  • The majority of young adults – 6 in 10 females (59%) and 7 in 10 males (68%) – experienced physical violence during their childhood, with nearly half experiencing it at the hands of parents or adult caregivers
  • Among those who were subjected to physical violence by an adult, their first experience was nearly always committed by a teacher (94% for females and 86% for males)
  • 1 in 4 children missed school after experiencing physical violence

Emotional Violence

  • Among 18-24 year olds, 1 in 3 experienced some form of emotional or verbal violence during their childhood
  • The most common perpetrator of emotional or verbal violence was a child’s mother or stepmother (41% for females and 35% for males)
  • Children who experience emotional violence were more likely to think of killing themselves than those who didn’t

About UNICEF

UNICEF promotes the rights and wellbeing of every child, in everything we do. Together with our partners, we work in 190 countries and territories to translate that commitment into practical action, focusing special effort on reaching the most vulnerable and excluded children, to the benefit of all children, everywhere.

 

 

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