UNICEF Statement on Zimbabwean law raising the age of consent to 18 years

15 January 2024
Group of Adolescents
Tanaka Ziyavaya

Harare, 15 January 2023 – UNICEF notes the passage of the legislation raising the age of consent for sexual relations to 18 years, which will contribute to a reduction of sexual abuse of children and adolescents, which continues to be a concern in Zimbabwe.

Available data suggest that in Zimbabwe, over a third of girls experience sexual violence before the age of 18 years. For most of these girls, the perpetrators are intimate partners.  

Sexual violence on children has a significant impact on girls and boys who experience it. The effect is both physical as well as psychological.

As Zimbabwe implements the new legislation, UNICEF calls on the Government also to continue to invest in the prevention of sexual abuse of children and support to victims. Based on the lessons from existing initiatives by the Government and partners, prevention and support programmes must be continued and scaled up. Everybody in Zimbabwe must understand that sexual abuse of children is not acceptable, and they need to act accordingly and speak up.

Importantly, UNICEF also calls on all stakeholders to continue guaranteeing access to friendly services to promote health, well-being, and protection for adolescents and young people.

Children deserve to grow up in a safe environment. It is our shared responsibility to break the silence, to help prevent sexual abuse of children, and by extension all forms of violence against children, and to ensure children that are victims of violence, abuse and exploitation get the attention, assistance and support they need.

#For Every Child, a safe living environment.

For more information, please contact: Yves Willemot, Chief Communication UNICEF Zimbabwe, ywillemot@unicef.org; Mobile: +263 772124268


Media contacts

Yves Willemot
Chief of Communications
UNICEF Zimbabwe
Tel: +263772124268


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