In 2019, the Government of Kenya, with support from partners, including LVCT Health conducted a second VACS survey to measure progress made since the 2010 VACS and identify emerging trends in violence against children.
Today, the Government of Kenya launched the Violence Against Children Survey report, and National Prevention and Response Plan. The event was graced by Simon Chelugui, the Cabinet Secretary, Ministry of Labour & Social Protection amongst other government officials and developmental and implementing partners including the USA ambassador to Kenya Kyle McCarter and UNICEF Representative to Kenya Maniza Zaman
The report shows the great progress made since the first VACS, including significant reductions in 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.
The Cabinet Secretary urged the pubic to safeguard all children by joining the #SpotItStopIt campaign and committed to leading the implementation of the response plan, which aims to work with all stakeholders in safeguarding the wellbeing and future of all children.
“The consequences of violence on its survivors are often devastating, causing negative outcomes associated with physical health, social mobility, success and mental health.” CS Simon Chelugui
The USA Ambassador to Kenya said the survey was important & timely with the lockdown and school’s closure which have precipitated increased FGM numbers & early pregnancies. “We must thus act swiftly & responsibly to protect the most vulnerable among us, children now that we have data.”
Kenya is a signatory to the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child and the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child, representing a commitment towards prevention and response to all forms of violence against children.
The UNICEF Representative reiterated that the numbers were not just numbers but children, which should be worrying to everyone “Every child has the right to feel safe in their home, their school, and their community. Violence against children scars too many young lives.”
According to the VAC survey fact sheet, Physical violence is the most common form of violence for both boys and girls: 39% of girls and 52% of boys experienced physical violence during their childhood.
Speaking at the launch on behalf of Civil society organisations, Dr.Lilian Otiso urged the government to coordinate all stakeholders including different government ministries, development partners, CSOs, media, and communities towards achievement of the plans laid out in the response plan. Her moving speech shared experiences of girls who have died as a result of violence.