Zambia is not known for high rates of violence – on the contrary, it is a country that hosts many refugees from conflicts in neighbouring countries. Reports on the humanitarian situation in Zambia, therefore, frequently focus on the situation of displaced persons in the country, rather than the situation of Zambians themselves. What is overlooked even more easily is the situation of children: yet a recent report released by UNICEF reveals how prevalent violence against children is in Zambia today. Based on the 2014 Violence Against Children Survey, conducted by the Zambian government, UNICEF’s report details data involving violence faced by children, and offers potential solutions and steps going forward.
The UNICEF report investigated the exposure of children to physical, sexual and emotional violence, with half of those questioned for the survey stating that they experienced at least one type of violence before they were eighteen. According to UNICEF findings, not surprisingly sexual abuse is more likely to affect girls, with perpetrators most frequently being spouses, romantic partners or friends. Boys are somewhat more affected by physical violence, yet a total of one third of females and two fifths of males were exposed to this kind of violence as children. Perpetrators of physical violence are most commonly parents or adult relatives. Emotional violence is less prevalent, yet a fifth of females and a sixth of males were exposed to it, a number that is still highly worrying.
Primary respondents of the survey came from a random group of the ages 13 to 24 years, being questioned about their experience before their eighteenth birthday. Alarming as the numbers are by themselves, awareness of how and where to seek help, also to cope after the violence has stopped, was low among the respondents. Consequently, UNICEF calls for concerted efforts by the government as well as international partners to take action to protect children from violence and to assist survivors of abuse.
Check out this infographic by UNICEF detailing the numbers related to violence against children in Zambia.
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Image courtesy of SuSanA Secretariat via Flickr