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.
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.
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 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%.
Completed, implementing response
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%.
Collection of data for the second VACS in Kenya
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.
Completed, implementing response
Collection of data for the first VACS in Kenya
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.
This resource provides evidence that VACS data and associated processes contribute to meaningful policy change and action to end violence against children and adolescents and gender-based violence.
This study conducts a multi-country, gender-stratified analysis of the relationship between age at first incident of physical violence and outcomes of wellbeing in sub-Saharan Africa.
This study was a secondary analysis of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Violence Against Children and Youth Surveys (VACS) from Kenya, Malawi, Tanzania, Nigeria, and Zambia.
Explore the results from a secondary analysis of VACS data by Together for Girls, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and Global Affairs Canada.
Linking Violence Against Children and Youth Surveys to Coordinated and Effective Action: CDC and the Together for Girls Partnership is intended to serve as a guide for countries and Together for Girls partners interested in undertaking VACS and supporting data-informed actions to address the burden and consequences of violence against children and youth.
Data on school-related gender-based violence in Kenya.
This study explores the rarely studied prevalence and dynamics around disclosure, reporting, and help seeking behaviours of children who ever experienced physical and/or sexual violence.
This article examines the outcomes associated with early sexual debut in five sub-Saharan African countries for males and females, separately.
An overview of the data found in Kenya's 2020 Violence Against Children and Youth Survey (VACS) report.
Explore the data in Kenya's Violence Against Children and Youth Survey (VACS) report.
The Kenyan government has developed a national prevention and response plan (2019-2023) that aims to reduce violence against children prevalence by 40 percent.
This booklet will give you the tools you need to help SPOT and STOP violence in your home, school and community! You’ll learn the different ways that kids experience violence, and what they, their families, communities, and YOU can do.
The purpose of this study was to investigate experiences of violence by age and sex across in Cambodia, Haiti, Kenya, Malawi, and Tanzania.
This study examines how exposure to emotional violence is associated with suicide ideation in childhood and adolescence in low- and middle-income countries.
Find details about recent changes to the VACS questionnaire, including the review process, updated measures, and new modules for Latin American countries.
This youth engagement toolkit is a unique new resource created for the campaign. It includes key messages and organizing tools designed specifically to guide youth-led organizations in delivering vital information on post-rape care to the youth populations they serve in the form of educational workshops.
This study explores the collective effects of childhood sexual, physical, and emotional violence on selected self-reported health outcomes among young Kenyan females and males using the Violence Against Children Survey (VACS).
Explore this analysis looking at risk factors of childhood emotional, physical, sexual violence, and polyvictimization for children aged 13–17 from Violence Against Children and Youth Surveys across six countries.
This study explores the association between emotional, physical, and sexual violence against children with physical intimate partner violence in young adulthood.
This study compares the characteristics of survivors who present for healthcare to those of survivors reporting violence on national surveys; understand the healthcare services provided to survivors; and, identify barriers to treatment.
This paper uses data on childhood violence for 10,042 individuals from Cambodia, Kenya, Swaziland, Tanzania.
This study sought to produce the first internationally comparable estimates of the magnitude, characteristics, risk factors, and consequences of sexual violence against boys in three countries.
This study explores the evidence linking violence against women and HIV, including on the cycle of violence and the links between violence against children and women.
This report summarizes the content and recommendations that emerged from the Global Meeting on Violence against Children in Ezulwini, Swaziland, 2014.
Explore the data in Kenya's Violence Against Children and Youth Survey (VACS) report.
An overview of data found in Kenya's 2012 Violence Against Children and Youth Survey (VACS) report.
On May 11-13, 2022, senior government officials and civil society leaders from over 30 African countries gathered at the Pan-African symposium on violence prevention in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
The World AIDS Day 2021 theme is “End Inequality. End AIDS. End Pandemics.” By ending gender inequality and the silent pandemic of sexual violence against children and adolescents, we can create a safer, AIDS-free future.
November 18 is the Inaugural World Day for Prevention, Healing and Justice to End Sexual Violence Against Children and Adolescents.
Every October 11, we celebrate International Day of the Girl to recognize the achievements, opportunities and challenges impacting girls and young women everywhere.
High-quality, disaggregated data on school-related gender-based violence is essential to help drive effective policies and programs for prevention and response.
The Global Education Summit: Financing GPE 2021-2025 will be a key moment for the global community to come together and support quality education for all children.
The Generation Equality Forum, convened by UN Women was co-hosted by the governments of France and Mexico in close partnership with civil society and youth activists, launched a collective call to accelerate action for gender equality.
Social norms drive gender inequalities and violence, and even though access to education is a human right, learners across the globe are impacted by school-related gender-based violence.
As we think about the past year there are undeniable moments of collaboration and partnership that provide hope as we prepare for the year ahead.
Girls Health Ed is one organization working in and through schools to address the root causes of gender equality that often lead to violence.
Ashleigh Howard — a global health epidemiologist with expertise in violence and HIV — shares her top 10 things you should know about the Violence Against Children and Youth Surveys.
"I now live in my own house and my sisters are back at school. Thank you for giving me hope."
“I am now a rice farmer who is independent and can fight for my rights and those of others.”
“I am grateful to be able to afford to buy my medication and earn a living at the same time."
“If it weren’t for DREAMS I would be a drop out or a drug addict."
"DREAMS gave me a new lease of life – I have my confidence back, I’m independent, and can pay my siblings fees and house rent. I can now live AIDS-free.”
"When my dream of becoming a teacher came true, everyone in my community, including my husband, was very proud."
“I was in a place where I could not be seen but I am now visible."
"I now make hair locks, get paid and save, and hope to have a salon of my own. Getting involved with DREAMS gave me hope and skills to become independent.”
“I now practice photography as a career and I get jobs and get paid for it."
"DREAMS has transformed me into a salaried, well-respected, and confident young woman.”
“I was able to sit for my national exams and proceed with my nursing course because of DREAMS support.”
Across Kenya, PEPFAR’s DREAMS partnership is supporting young women to lead safe and healthy lives free from HIV.
The photo exhibition, “Champions for change”, brings together personal stories showcasing how individual action can lead to a collective and forceful nationwide movement against gender-based violence.