Violence Against Children

Violence against children (VAC) refers to all forms of violence against boys and girls under 18 years old perpetrated by parents, caregivers, peers, romantic partners, or strangers.

Magnitude of VAC

Globally, it is estimated that up to 1 billion children have experienced physical, sexual, or emotional violence or neglect.[1] Target 16.2 of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development[2] is to “end abuse, exploitation, trafficking and all forms of violence against, and torture of, children”. In Kenya, the Violence against Children Study[3] (VACs, 2010) covered 1,306 females and 1,622 males aged between 13 to 24 years. The participants were divided as:

  • 18 to 24 year olds who experienced acts of violence prior to age 18 (lifetime events).
  • 13 to 17 year olds who experienced acts of violence during the 12 months prior to the survey (current events).

During the study, levels of violence prior to age 18, as reported by 18 to 24 year olds (lifetime experiences) indicated that during childhood;

Types of VAC

  • Maltreatment, including violent punishment for wrong doing              
  • Bullying, including cyber-bullying
  • Youth violence
  • Intimate partner violence (IPV) (or domestic violence)
  • Sexual violence
  • Emotional and psychological violence

Image above represents how the different types of violence cut across the ages


[1] See Global prevalence of past-year violence against children: a systematic review and minimum estimates. Hillis S, Mercy J, Amobi A, Kress H. Pediatrics 2016; 137(3): e20154079

[2] Transforming our world: the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

[3] Violence against Children in Kenya: Findings from a 2010 National Survey. Summary Report on the Prevalence of Sexual, Physical and Emotional Violence, Context of Sexual Violence, and Health and Behavioral Consequences of Violence Experienced in Childhood. Nairobi, Kenya: United Nations Children’s Fund Kenya Country Office, Division of Violence Prevention, National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics, 2012

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