Sumner SA, Mercy AA, Saul J, Motsa-Nzuza N, Kwesigabo G, Buluma R, Marcelin LH, Lina H, Shawa M, Moloney-Kitts M, Kilbane T, Sommarin C, Ligiero DP, Brookmeyer K, Chiang L, Lea V, Lee J, Kress H, Hillis SD. Prevalence of sexual violence against children and use of social services - seven countries, 2007-2013. MMWR. Morbidity and mortality weekly report. 2015 Jun 5;64(64). 565-9. PMID: 26042646 [PubMed] PMCID: PMC4584766
Sexual violence against children erodes the strong foundation that children require for leading healthy and productive lives. Globally, studies show that exposure to violence during childhood can increase vulnerability to a broad range of mental and physical health problems, ranging from depression and unwanted pregnancy to cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and sexually transmitted diseases, including human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). Despite this, in many countries, the extent of sexual violence against children is unknown; estimates are needed to stimulate prevention and response efforts and to monitor progress. Consequently, CDC, as a member of the global public-private partnership known as Together for Girls, collaborated with Cambodia, Haiti, Kenya, Malawi, Swaziland, Tanzania, and Zimbabwe to conduct national household surveys of children and youth aged 13-24 years to measure the extent of violence against children. The lifetime prevalence of experiencing any form of sexual violence in childhood ranged from 4.4% among females in Cambodia to 37.6% among females in Swaziland, with prevalence in most countries greater than 25.0%. In most countries surveyed, the proportion of victims that received services, including health and child protective services, was ≤10.0%. Both prevention and response strategies for sexual violence are needed.