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Exploring children’s formal help-seeking behaviour for violence in Zimbabwe: analysis of national survey and routine service provider data

1339 of 4622 children aged 13–18 years surveyed for the 2017 VACS in Zimbabwe (29.8%) reported experience of lifetime physical and/or sexual violence.

Of these, 829 (57.3%) children did not know where to seek formal help, 364 (33.1%) children knew where to seek help but did not, and 139 (9.6%) children knew where to seek help and did seek help. Boys were more likely to know where to seek help, but girls were more likely to actually seek help.

During the 6-month period when VACS survey data were being collected, Childline received 2177 calls where the main reason for the call was recorded as violence against someone aged 18 years or under. These 2177 calls contained more reports from girls and children in school, versus the national profile of children who had experienced violence.

Few children who did not seek help reported not wanting services. Most children who did not seek help reported that they felt at fault or that their safety would be put at risk by disclosure.

BMJ

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