DAR ES SALAAM, Tanzania, 9 August 2011 – The results of a pioneering survey led by the Government of Tanzania released today reveal an urgent need to address violence against children across all sectors and in settings where children spend most of their time, particularly in their homes, communities, and schools.
“I am so pleased that Tanzania is taking the initiative of confronting this painful problem, “ said the United Nations Deputy Secretary General Dr. Asha-Rose Migiro at the launch. “Children make up half of the population here. They are our greatest national treasure.”
The 2009 Tanzania Violence Against Children Survey (TVACS), funded by UNICEF and carried out by Muhimbili University for Health and Allied Science in collaboration with the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, finds that nearly three out of every ten girls and one out of every seven boys in mainland Tanzania and Zanzibar reported that they had experienced sexual violence.
Almost three-quarters of girls and boys said they had experienced physical violence before the age of 18 at the hand of an adult or an intimate partner. Twenty five percent had been subjected to emotional violence by an adult during childhood.,
At the launch, senior Tanzanian officials stated their commitment to act on the findings and ensure that the issue of violence against children is placed high on the agenda of the police, justice, education, health, HIV and AIDS, local government authorities, NGOs and community development.
''Having had the courage to find out the scale and scope of violence against children in the country, the government now has the challenge of planning and delivering a proportionate response,” said Andrew Brooks, UNICEF Chief of Child Protection in Tanzania.
“Under the leadership of the Ministry of Community Development, Gender and Children, the the Multi-Sector Task Force is developing a 4-year National Prevention and Response Plan to Violence against Children (2011 – 2015) as a clear indication of its commitment to transform research into action. With the support of all sectors and all members of society, including the media, faith based organizations and civil society; there is a very real opportunity for Tanzania to reduce sexual, physical and emotional violence against children,” said UNICEF Tanzania Representative, Dorothy Rozga.
Tanzania's VACS was commissioned after the 2006 United Nations Secretary General's World Report on Violence against Children called on individual countries to deepen their knowledge of the scale of the problem. Swaziland is the only other country to have carried out a similar survey but it did not include interviews with boys and focused only on sexual violence.
In Kenya and Zimbabwe, moves are afoot to initiate surveys of a similar scale to Tanzania’s one which saw more than 120 interviewers recruited and trained to question 3,739 girls and boys, aged between 13 and 24, in their homes. Tanzania has a population of about 40 million people. Half of the population is under the age of 18.
UNICEF is on the ground in over 150 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:
Sara Cameron, UNICEF Tanzania,
Tel: +255 22 2196600
Georgina Mtenga, UNICEF Tanzania,
Tel: +255 22 2196644
Jacqueline Namfua, UNICEF Tanzania,
Tel: +255 754711073
Dumeetha Luthra, UNICEF New York,
Tel: +1 212 326 7495