The Violence Against Children and Youth Survey (VACS) was conducted in Swaziland with a nationally representative sample of girls and young women ages 13-24 from selected households in 2007. A previous study using Swaziland data found that one in three girls – 33% – experienced sexual violence in childhood. Childhood sexual violence included forced or coerced sex, attempted unwanted sex, and unwanted forced touching. This study evaluated what characteristics are associated with increased risk of experiencing childhood sexual violence among girls in Swaziland.
CDC research brief: Girls’ home and early experiences in Swaziland are associated with risk for childhood sexual violence
This paper reports findings from the 2007 Swaziland VACS, which was the first VACS completed. In Swaziland, data were only collected for girls. This study was important for establishing the methodology of the VACS and for reporting the national prevalence of violence among female children in Swaziland. This study lays the groundwork for future VACS studies and reports in other countries, which allows cross-national comparisons of the rates of violence, its circumstances, and consequences.
What is added by this report?
This study found several factors were associated with being a victim of childhood sexual violence among girls in Swaziland. The findings suggest that girls who lack a close relationship with their mothers and those who are not in school may be particularly vulnerable to childhood sexual violence. This study also found a connection between childhood sexual violence and emotional violence – both experiencing and witnessing it. This information can help identify the groups who are potentially most vulnerable to childhood sexual violence, and inform ways to identify victims, provide services, and prevent victimization among the most vulnerable groups.
Launched in 2007, the Violence Against Children and Youth Surveys in Eswatini was the first of its kind and a prototype for surveys to come, focused on sexual, physical, and emotional violence against girls and young women.