11 August 2011: Tanzania government announces commitment to address survey report findings on the violence against children
Government of Tanzania reveals an urgent need to address violence against children across all sectors
DAR ES SALAAM, Tanzania, 11 August 2011– A pioneering survey led by the Government of Tanzania reveals 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.
At the launch of the national Violence Against Children Report held today in Dar es Salaam, the United Nations Deputy Secretary General Dr. Asha-Rose Migiro, a Tanzanian citizen, celebrated the country’s leading role in making child abuse a priority: “I am so pleased that Tanzania is taking the initiative of confronting this painful problem. 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.
UNICEF Chief of Child Protection in Tanzania, Andrew Brooks, says the study represents the first time an African government has confronted itself with statistical proof of a deep social malaise such as child abuse, in a bid to address it with epidemiological vigour. ''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.” Government personnel stated their commitments 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.
The report has been guided by the Multi-Sector Task Force (MSTF), which consists of representatives from government ministries that made statements of commitments at the Launch. The Task Force represents national ownership and oversight in building support for a comprehensive 4–year National Prevention and Response Plan to address the findings of the study.
“Under the leadership of the Ministry of Community Development, Gender and Children, 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.” Said UNICEF Tanzania Representative, Dorothy Rozga who went on to state that, “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.”
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.
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