RIATT-ESA Webinar - Prevalence and Predictors of Child Abuse in southern Africa

Tuesday, May 5, 2015 - 09:07

On 21 April 2015 RIATT-ESA hosted its third webinar on the prevalence and predictors of child abuse. Thirty organizations signed up and 18 particpated in the lively session indicating wide interest in the topic.

The webinar featured presentations on research conducted in South Africa and Malawi. The research looked at forms of violence suffered by children; where children are being victimized and abused; and by whom.  It aslo looked at links to how children affected by HIV are made vulnerable to abuse and victimization.

The two presenters were:

Franziska Meink from the Oxford University

Nankali Maksud from UNICEF Malawi

Lynette Mudekunye from REPSSI chaired the webinar. 

Some Research Findings are:

  • High rates of physical and emotional abuse largely perpetrated by caregivers, and for sexual abuse by peers
  • 2 in 3 Malawians experience violence in childhood.
  • 3. 1 in 5 girls are sexually abused before the age of 18.
  • 4. 2 in 3 boys suffer physical violence before the age of 18.
  • Children in AIDS-affected families have a higher risk for abuse, partially due to higher levels of poverty low levels of service access.

Webinar Conclusions: Programming Implications

  • Assault, school drop-out and previous sexual abuse increase risk of sexual abuse in girls by more than 40%.
  • Boys experience more physical violence but girls experience more sexual violence from intimate partners, peers, and others known to them.
  • Parental AIDS or other illness increase risk of all kinds of abuse.

Way Forward for policy and programming

  • Scale-up interventions to promote reporting of abuse and access to services.
  • Programmers need to address circular relationship between AIDS, poverty and abuse.
  • Prevention is key- we need more focus on developing promising interventions that are evaluated.

Click here for the webinar presentations

Click here for the summary on programming implications

Click here for the webinar recording

What some participants said about the webinar: 

 Thank you for a really interesting seminar with a lot of interesting information… The South African study is of particular interest for meBritta Holmberg, Project Director WORLD CHILDHOOD FOUNDATION.

I was excited to be part of the discussions though I did not contribute directly. The forum was quite enriching and the lessons from the field and studies was great. I hope I will be able to learn more and have an opportunity to implement some of the strategies for the good of the childrenAntonio Kasote, Community Care and Orphans and Vulnerable Children Specialist Office of Health, Population & Nutrition USAID/MALAWI.

I just finished participating in the Violence Against Children Webinar and thought it was excellent. Naomi Reich, Senior Technical Advisor, World Education Inc. Africa Division and Bantawana Initiative.

Organisations that registered for the webinar included:

Young People in International Affairs; Catholic Relief Services; REPSSI; Fathers in Africa; World Education; World Childhood Foundation; VSO RHAISA; Together for Girls; UNICEF; 4Children Consortium; Benue State Government; Youth reach; Maestral International; CDC; Southern Africa Youth Project; Malawi Government; Sonke Gender Justice; Nelson Mandela Childrens Fund; Pact Inc. Ethiopia Office; SANTAC Mozambique; United States Agency for International Development (USAID) Uganda/Ethiopia/Malawi/SouthAfrica/Lesotho/Cameroon; International Childrens Palliative Care Network; Federal Government of the US; Stelenboch University.


After the webinar RIATT-ESA produced a summary leaflet for distribution on social media platforms. Various organizations and people have shared the link on twitter including: Global SSW Alliance; David N Jones; REPSSI; Franziska M; CISE Malawi; Brian Bilal Kanaahe™; Mandela Mwanza.

RIATT-ESA is looking into co-hosting a programme for the South Africa Child Protection Week in June 2015, using information shared in the webinar.