Sexual violence against children is a significant problem in many low- and middle-income countries. At least 25 percent of females and 10 percent of males experienced some form of childhood sexual violence in the majority of seven countries studied, according to findings from the Violence Against Children Surveys (VACS) released today in the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR) by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Among the children who reported experiencing childhood sexual violence, fewer than 1 in 10 received supportive services, including healthcare, legal/security aid, or counseling support.
“Far too many of the world’s children experience sexual violence and have long-lasting physical and mental health effects,” said CDC Director Tom Frieden, M.D., M.P.H. “It is crucial that communities, governments, and families increase legal and society-wide efforts to protect children and provide healthcare, legal, and counseling support.”
The VACS data highlighted in this report focus on lifetime childhood sexual violence (before age 18 years) among female and male respondents’ ages 18 to 24 in seven countries (Swaziland, Tanzania, Kenya, Zimbabwe, Malawi, Haiti, and Cambodia).