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Kenya, 29 November 2012: Government committed to addressing findings on Violence Against Children Study Report

NAIROBI, Kenya, 29 November 2012 - The findings from a first-ever national survey of sexual, physical and emotional violence against children administered by the Government of Kenya were released today, underscoring the critical need to coordinate nationwide efforts to protect children at home, at school and in the community.

"These results were sobering indications of the widespread problem of violence facing children in Kenya," said Kanyankore Marcel Rudasingwa, UNICEF Kenya Representative. "But rather than inspiring hopelessness we are encouraged that they are driving comprehensive action by the Government and its partners to prevent as well as respond to violence."

The 2010 Kenya Violence Against Children Survey (KVACS) was funded by UNICEF and carried out in collaboration with the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics, crucial stakeholders and partners from across the Government and the non-governmental sector.

In a household-level survey of more than 3,000 young people, it found that three out of four children experienced some form of sexual, physical or emotional violence. And while there may be social and historical behaviours and circumstances that precipitate violence, the scourge of abuse of children remains a problem that affects the most modern of cities as well as the most traditional of rural communities.

Most worrisome is that violence against children does not appear to be random or uncoordinated, or perpetuated by strangers: abusers are not only known to their victims but often have close, personal ties.

This means that a child is most often beaten, slapped or hit by a parent. A child is most often sexually abused by a romantic partner or boyfriend or girlfriend, or even a family member. Verbal and emotional abuse is most often meted out by family members.

The consequences of this violence can be lasting and enduring for both the victims and communities as a whole. Victims of childhood violence are more likely to engage in risky behaviours such as drug and alcohol abuse, sexual relationships with multiple partners and unprotected sex. Young women are more likely to become pregnant with unwanted pregnancies. The risks of exposure to sexually- transmitted diseases, as well as HIV/AIDS, are considerably higher.

"The findings of the study and the response plan will advance the protection of children in Kenya. Girls and boys have the right to be safe wherever they live," said Jean-Francois Basse, Chief of Child Protection, UNICEF-Kenya.

At the launch today, senior officials emphasized the Government's commitment to use the findings as a basis for comprehensive and holistic action, engaging the police, educators, health professionals, social workers and local government authorities alongside NGOs, faith-based organizations, CSOs and community development actors in the work to protect children from violence.

“Violence against children is never justifiable. Nor is it inevitable. If its underlying causes are identified and addressed, violence against children is entirely preventable – there can be no room for compromise." said Mr. Rudasingwa. “In developing and executing this response plan, the Government of Kenya is demonstrating that effective responses to violence involve comprehensive efforts that combine long-term investment in prevention and a commitment to improving the functioning of State institutions."

The Kenya Violence Against Children Study was commissioned after the release of the 2006 UN Secretary-General’s World Report on Violence Against Children.

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About UNICEF
UNICEF works in 190 countries and territories to help children survive and thrive, from early childhood through adolescence. The world’s largest provider of vaccines for developing countries, UNICEF supports child health and nutrition, good water and sanitation, quality basic education for all boys and girls, and the protection of children from violence, exploitation, and AIDS. UNICEF is funded entirely by the voluntary contributions of individuals, businesses, foundations and governments. For more information about UNICEF and its work visit: www.unicef.org.

For further information, please contact:
Edita Nsubuga, Chief of Communication, UNICEF Kenya; email: ensubuga@unicef.org; cell: +254 708 989 221

Cifora Monier, Communication Specialist, Emergencies, UNICEF Kenya; email: cmonier@unicef.org;
cell: +254 700 391 438

Theresa Kilbane, Senior Adviser Child Protection, UNICEF New York; email: tkilbane@unicef.org;
cell: +1 917 265 4554

Michele Moloney-Kitts, Director, Together for Girls, Washington DC; email: michele@togetherforgirls.org; cell: +1 202 604 1442

James Mercy, US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, email: jam2@cdc.gov; tel: + 1 770 488 4723

 

 
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