Government of Zambia Launches Violence Against Children and Youth Survey Report

On November 7, 2018, the Government of the Republic of Zambia hosted a high-level event in Lusaka to launch the first-ever national report on the Violence Against Children and Youth Survey (VACS), also known as Zambia’s Health and Wellbeing Survey (H-Well).


Zambia’s VACS report provides never-before seen data on the prevalence, nature and consequences of violence against children and youth, including insights on sexual violence and its relationship to children’s lifelong health outcomes. The VACS data also reveals the stark and specific differences in the types of violence girls and boys experience in childhood, be it sexual, physical or emotional.



Key findings from Zambia’s VACS Report include:

  • Half of females and males experienced at least one type of violence in childhood–female respondents were more likely to report experiencing sexual violence including physically forced sex in childhood than males.
  • 20% of girls experienced sexual violence prior to the age of 18. Among those who had sex before age 18, 26% of girls described their first sexual intercourse as unwanted.
  • For both girls and boys, the perpetrators of sexual violence are often someone who is known by the victim. For over half of girls surveyed who experienced sexual violence (52%), their perpetrator was an intimate partner. For boys, their perpetrator is most often a friend (35%).
  • Only 1 in 5 females and 1 in 4 males who experienced sexual violence in childhood knew of a place to go for help; fewer than 1 in 10 male and female survivors of childhood sexual violence received follow up care and services after the incident.
  • 1 in 3 females and 2 in 5 males experienced physical violence in their childhood. Parents, adult caregivers or other adult relatives are the most frequent perpetrators of physical violence prior to age 18.


Zambia Sexual Violence Boys and Girls blog 1 - Government of Zambia Launches Violence Against Children and Youth Survey Report


Zambia Sexual Violence First Experience blog - Government of Zambia Launches Violence Against Children and Youth Survey Report


In addition to the formal remarks provided at the launch, the Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General on Violence Against Children (SRSG), Marta Santos Pais shared a video message congratulating the Government of Zambia on its completion of the VACS Report.  In the SRSG’s remarks, the efforts of the Zambian Government were recognized as a means to enhance the country’s capacity to design, implement, and evaluate national child protection policies.


As a way forward, SRSG Santos Pais also encouraged government actors to use the VACS findings to drive country-led, multi-sectoral action to strengthen violence prevention and response programming as a means to end of all forms violence against children in Zambia.


The Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General on Violence Against Children, Marta Santos Pais shares a video message recognizing the Zambian Government’s achievement and endorses her support in developing coordinated action in response to the VACS results.


Zambia’s Violence Against Children and Youth Survey (VACS) was conducted by the Ministry of Youth, Sport and Child Development, in collaboration with the Ministry of Community Development and Social Services, Central Statistical Office, University of Zambia Department of Population Studies, and Save the Children. It was supported by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), PEPFAR, UNICEF, and other partners as part of the Together for Girls partnership.


For more information regarding the Zambia VACS, check out the country fact sheet or visit Zambia’s country page on the Together for Girls website.