The Government of Kenya led the implementation of their first Violence Against Children and Youth Survey (VACS) in 2010, and launched the VACS report in 2012.

The Kenyan Ministry of Gender, Children, and Social Development, in collaboration with Kenya National Bureau of Statistics, coordinated the implementation of the VACS with support from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), PEPFAR, UNICEF, and other Together for Girls partners.

Kenya was one of the first countries to complete a second VACS in 2019, and launched their VACS report in 2020.

These second survey results offer an unprecedented opportunity to measure progress since the 2010 VACS, evaluate ongoing efforts, and identify opportunities to create safer communities for every child, adolescent, and youth. Results from the 2019 Kenya VACS informed the National Prevention and Response Plan (2019-2023) concurrently with the report launch.

Kenya vacs 2020

A decade of change

In the decade between VACS reports, Kenya prioritized a number of policy and programmatic changes that aimed to reduce violence against children. In 2010, Kenya revised its constitution (Article 53) and strengthened the rights of children: recognizing the need for all children to be protected from abuse, and affirming that children have the right to education, nutrition, shelter, health care, and parental care. During this period, the country also saw significant social and economic progress. Kenya averaged 5.5% GDP growth since 2010, and in 2014 it became a middle-income country, signaling the availability of greater domestic resources.


Data to guide policy and programming

Despite the promising reductions in violence, the 2019 VACS report revealed concerning trends on recent violence among adolescent ages 13-17: the prevalence of unwanted attempted sex in the last 12 months was higher in 2019 — at 9% — compared to 2010 — at 3%.

These findings underscore the importance of data disaggregated by sex and age, and that overall trends may mask risks and from specific forms of violence. Overall, these results point to progress in Kenya but also suggest the need to continue to build on efforts to better protect and prevent violence against adolescent girls, specifically.

The prevalence of any childhood sexual violence experienced by 18-24 year olds:

Milestones and commitments to ending sexual violence against children

All eventsHighlights
  • Launch of NAP

    Launch of National Action Plan

    The results from the 2019 Violence Against Children and Youth Survey (VACS) established that violence against children is still prevalent. The government — through the Ministry of Labour and Social Protection and Department of Children’s Services — developed a national prevention and response plan (2019-2023) that aims to reduce violence against children prevalence by 40%.

    National prevention and response plan on violence against children in Kenya 2019-2023

  • 2020

    VACS report launch

    VACS Status

    VACS completed, implementing response

    Survey conducted2019
    Report launch2020

    The data shows overall reductions in violence since 2010

    The 2019 Kenya VACS shows that in the past decade, a coordinated response to the VACS results by partners led Kenya to make great strides in preventing sexual violence against children. Between 2010 and 2019, the surveys showed substantial reductions in sexual violence against children.

    Since the 2010 Kenya VACS, the prevalence of any childhood sexual violence was reduced in half for females, from 32% to 16%, and by two-thirds for males from 18% to 6%.

    Kenya Violence Against Children and Youth Survey (VACS) Report 2020 (data collection 2019)

    Kenya vacs 2020
  • Data to Action Workshop

    Data to Action workshop

  • Data Collection

    VACS data collection

    Collection of data for the second VACS in Kenya

  • Launch of NAP

    Launch of National Action Plan

    Using the data from the 2010 VACS report as its guide, the Government of Kenya released a Summary Findings & Response Plan in 2011. Along with the government, PEPFAR, UNICEF, other bilateral and multilateral organizations, civil society, and individuals contributed to collaborations to improve access to education, strengthen legal protections, scale up income and economic strengthening approaches, and link the most vulnerable children and families to resources, services, and care.

    Kenya Violence Against Children and Youth Survey (VACS) summary response plan 2010

    Kenya VACS Summary Response Plan
  • 2012

    VACS report launch

    VACS Status

    VACS completed, implementing response

    Survey conducted2010
    Report launch2012
    Kenya VACS Report 2012
  • Data Collection

    VACS data collection

    Collection of data for the first VACS in Kenya

Key stats from the 2020 Kenya VACS (data collected 2019) vs 2012 Kenya VACS (data collected 2010):

Change is possible. Violence is preventable.

The VACS process demonstrates that change is possible. The significant reduction in violence against children and youth in Kenya since 2010 highlights the importance of data in providing evidence to inform policies and programs aimed at preventing violence. It also demonstrates the impact of governments, organizations, partnerships, and individuals working together to create safer communities for children, adolescents, and youth.

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