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Violence Against Children

All forms of physical or mental violence, injury and abuse, neglect or children negligent treatment, maltreatment or exploitation, including sexual abuse. (UNCRC, 1989). 

  • Nearly half of females (45.9%) and more than half of males (56.1%) experienced childhood violence in Kenya. 
  • Among the 15.6% of females who experienced childhood sexual violence, nearly two thirds (62.6%) experienced multiple incidents before age 18. 
  • Physical violence is the most common type of violence experienced in childhood in Kenya. Nearly two out of five females (38.8.%) and half of males (51.9%) experienced childhood physical violence. 
  • Childhood emotional violence by peers is also common, affecting 30.9% of females and 31.0% of males.


  • Sexual violence: includes non-consensual completed sexual contact with a child (defilement), attempted sexual contact, acts of a sexual nature not involving contact (such as voyeurism or sexual harassment); acts of sexual trafficking committed against someone who is unable to consent or refuse.
  • Bullying (including cyber-bullying): This is unwanted aggressive behaviour by another child or group of children who are neither siblings nor in a romantic relationship with the victim. It involves repeated physical, psychological or social harm, and often takes place in schools and other settings where children gather, and online.
  • Emotional or psychological violence: This includes restricting a child’s movements, denigration, ridicule, threats and intimidation, discrimination, rejection and other non-physical forms of hostile treatment.
  • Witnessing Domestic Violence: (involves physical, sexual and emotional violence by parents, an intimate partner or ex-partner.)
  • Maltreatment (including violent punishment): involves physical, sexual and psychological/emotional violence; and neglect of infants, children and adolescents by parents, caregivers and other authority figures, most often in the home but also in settings such as schools and orphanages.
  • Harmful Cultural Practices includes Forced Male circumcision, Female Genital Mutilation, Child marriage, Virginity Testing, Girl child beading, Organ change or removal in case of an intersex child (except with advice of a doctor and any other cultural, religious rite, custom or practice that is likely to affect a child’s life health, social wellbeing, dignity, physical, emotional wellbeing


Violence can result in death, lead to severe injuries, impair brain and nervous system development, result in negative coping and health risk behaviours, lead to unintended pregnancies, induced abortions, gynaecological problems, and sexually transmitted infections, including HIV, contribute to a wide range of non-communicable diseases, impact opportunities and future generations. 


Violence against children can be prevented. The Directorate of Children Services launched the VAC SURVEY REPORT 2019, and National Prevention and Response Plan on VAC 2019-2023 The PLAN is currently being implemented.