Washington, D.C., July 16, 2020 — On July 16, 2020, the Government of Kenya shared their groundbreaking second Violence Against Children and Youth Survey (VACS) Report during a virtual launch event. As one of the first countries to complete the VACS process twice, the new report offers an unprecedented opportunity to measure Kenya’s progress in ending violence against children, as well as highlight areas where renewed efforts to prevent violence are needed.
“We have an unprecedented opportunity to address violence against children in our country,” said Hon. Simon Chelugui, Cabinet Secretary for the Kenya Ministry of Labour & Social Protection, during the event. “The rich data from the 2019 VACS report will increase our understanding of the frequency, drivers, and impact of violence.”
In 2010, the Government of Kenya first conducted a VACS to provide data that would guide the planning and development of policies and programs to prevent violence before it starts and provide critical services to children and adolescents who experience violence. The 2019 VACS shows the great progress Kenya has made since the first VACS, including significant reductions in overall sexual, physical, and emotional violence in childhood.
However, the report also highlights concerning trends on recent violence among adolescent girls ages 13-17, underscoring the importance of the sex- and age-disaggregated VACS data.
“When we compare the results from the 2010 and 2019 surveys, we see some decline in the prevalence of certain forms of violence. This gives us encouragement that reducing violence against children is indeed possible and our country has been making progress in the right direction,” said Chelugui. “However, the prevalence is still too high and some of the violence has increased from 2010, which is concerning.”
Kenya’s 2019 VACS sampled more than 2,000 males and females from all 47 counties in Kenya. The survey provides national-level data on the prevalence, nature, and consequences of violence against children and youth, including insights on sexual violence and its relationship to lifelong health outcomes.
Both the 2010 and 2019 VACS were led by the Government of Kenya through funding from the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief and technical support from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as part of the Together for Girls global partnership.
During the launch, the Government of Kenya shared their national response plan which was developed based on the data in the VACS.
“These are not numbers, these are children,” said Maniza Zaman, UNICEF Representative in Kenya at the launch event. “We should be able to protect our children and act against acts of violence when we see it.”
The progress between Kenya’s two VACS reports demonstrates that ending violence against children is possible. By galvanizing coordinated action across sectors, Kenya showcased how the VACS process can reduce violence against children and youth.
“Every child has the right to feel safe in their home, their school, and their community,” said Zaman. “Violence against children scars too many young lives.”
About Together for Girls
Ending violence against children cannot be solved by a single actor or sector alone. Together for Girls is a global partnership working to end sexual violence against children and adolescents. Active in over 20 countries, Together for Girls unites actors that often do not work together, including national governments, United Nations entities, the private sector, civil society, and survivors. Through data and advocacy, Together for Girls drives action to break cycles of violence and ensure prevention, healing, and justice.