By Gustavo Bardales, Director of the Safer Municipalities Program, Sub Secretary of Security in Prevention, Government of Honduras
On September 4, 2018, President Juan Orlando Hernández of the Republic of Honduras invited government officials, civil society organizations and development partners to the Casa Presidencial for a special event to raise awareness of the country’s soon-to-be launched Violence Against Children Survey (VACS) report. During the event, President Hernández signed a commitment on behalf of the Government of Honduras to develop a national action plan.
Honduras became the first country in Latin America to conduct a VACS* in 2017, embarking on a journey to end violence against the nation’s children, adolescents and young people. By completing a VACS, Honduras gains a wealth of comprehensive data to better understand the magnitude of violence against children and youth within the country. The survey also included a groundbreaking new module to collect data on the relationship between migration and violence against children and youth.
To demonstrate the Government’s commitment to ending violence against children, President Hernández signed a letter of intent to develop a national action plan to end violence in childhood and adolescence. The letter was co-signed by representatives from the Ministry of the Secretary of Development and Social Inclusion; the Sub Secretary of Security in Prevention; UNICEF Honduras; the International Organization for Migration (IOM) and Together for Girls.
Although the VACS data will be officially released in 2019, event participants were given a preview of the report’s key findings by Dr. Andrés Villaveces, senior scientist from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Overall, the initial data reveals girls and boys in Honduras face unacceptably high levels of sexual, physical and emotional violence. Dr. Daniela Ligiero, Executive Director and CEO of Together for Girls, emphasized in her remarks that several countries have used VACS data to catalyze national action around violence prevention as a way forward.
The event was immediately followed by a Data2Action workshop where multi-sectoral representatives from government and civil society discussed how VACS data can be translated into action with the help of the INSPIRE framework. The workshop will inform the development of national priorities and policies through the use of evidence-based strategies to prevent and respond to violence.
For more information about the Honduras VACS, read the Presidency of Honduras press release.
*In Honduras, the VACS was led by the Government of Honduras Sub Secretary of Security in Prevention with support from U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), International Organization for Migration (IOM), United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and the government taskforce, Gabinete de Prevención, as part of the Together for Girls partnership.