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The Violence Against Children and Young Women Survey (VACS) data collection was completed in 2013, and the Republic of Malawi launched its final VACS report on March 24, 2015 along with a report on its priority responses.


To prepare for the VACS, the CDC National Center for Health Statistics, in partnership with University of Malawi Center for Social Research, implemented a cognitive laboratory study of the VACS survey instrument in Malawi to inform adaptation of the questionnaire to the local context. In addition, UNICEF Malawi and the Center for Social Research conducted a qualitative study to further inform the national quantitative study.

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For an overview of the data found in Malawi’s Violence Against Children Survey, download the Malawi one-pager factsheet.


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Key highlights include:


22% of girls experienced sexual violence in childhood


While 61% of girls told someone about their experiences of sexual violence, very few ever received any services.


42% of girls experienced physical violence in childhood.

15% of boys experienced sexual violence in childhood.


65% of boys told someone about their experiences of sexual violence, very few ever received any services.


65% of boys experienced physical violence in childhood.


Boys who experienced physical or sexual violence during childhood were significantly more likely to have perpetrated physical or sexual intimate partner violence.

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Of the girls and boys who reported sexual violence, only 9% of girls and 6% of boys received help.

Download the reports:

2013 - Violence Against Children in Malawi: Findings from a National Survey - Full report

2013 - Violence Against Children in Malawi: Findings from a National Survey - Executive Summary

2013 - Violence Against Children in Malawi: Fast Facts

2013 - Violence Against Children in Malawi: Priority Response

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The data presented in the VACS provide a strong foundation for the development of prevention and response strategies in Malawi.

Learn more:

2015 - Ending Violence Against Children in Malawi: Priority Responses

2015 - 2019: National Plan of Action for Vulnerable Children in Malawi

2014 - 2020: National Plan of Action to Combat Gender-Based Violence in Malawi

2014 - 2020: Summary of the National Plan of Action to Combat Gender-Based Violence in Malawi

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Some key strategies include:

  • Training and home visitation programs provide practical skills for parents to manage the stress of childrearing, while also identifying potential areas for education and social support.
  • Pro-social skills provide children with the means to manage anger and conflict in relationships. Such programs can be implemented through the full school cycle, including preschool and afterschool programs.
  • Stigma around violent victimization prevents survivors of violence (or those vulnerable to violence) from seeking care and support. Strengthening systems of support and normalizing careseeking can reduce violence and increase service uptake. Strategies to identify and refer victims, health provider training, child advocacy programs, and provision of mental health services are all essential elements in reducing violence in Malawi.
  • Gender stereotypes increase women’s vulnerability while reducing their ability to seek services for harm. Programs to address gender inequality can be situated in schools, in communities, and in public education initiatives. Additionally, programs that increase women’s access to education, employment, and services can also reduce their vulnerability.
  • Acceptability of violence is a barrier to child protection. In-school programs and public education initiatives can be utilized to change norms around the use of violence. Policies that increase accountability can also help reduce violence.
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What is being done in Malawi in global advocacy and public awareness
surrounding violence against children?

VIDEO: Infographic on violence against children in Malawi


VIDEO: Preventing violence against children in Malawi


Malawi Partners:

Bilateral and Multilateral Organizations: UNICEF Malawi, U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention/Division of Violence Prevention (CDC/DVP), UN Women, UNFPA, USAID, WHO, and the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan For Aids Relief (PEPFAR)


Government and Non-Government: Ministry of Gender Children, Disability and Social Welfare (MoGCDSW), Ministry of Disability and Elderly Affairs, Ministry of Education (MoE), Ministry of Health, Ministry of Justice, Ministry of Labour, Malawi Police Service, National Statistics Office, Centre for Youth and Children’s Affairs, District Social Welfare office (Chiradzulu, Zomba, and Blantyre), Malawi Human Rights Commission, University of Malawi Centre for Social Research, Eye of the Child, Foundation for Children Rights, Malawi College of Medicine, Malawi Human Rights Resource Centre, National Child Justice Forum, Norwegian Church Aid , Plan Malawi. Catholic Relief Services, Save the Children Malawi, Centre for Human Rights and Rehabilitation, World Vision Youth Net and Counseling (YONECO), Youth Watch Society


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