Volence against children is a significant problem throughout the African continent as it is around the world. it occurs in the home and family, schools, care and justice systems, workplaces and the ommunity. girls and boys of all ages are affected. Violence against children takes different forms: physical violence, including corporal punishment; sexual violence, including harassment and abuse; and mental violence, including verbal abuse, cruelty and harassment of a type that can damage a child’s psychological and emotional health and wellbeing. As well as threatening children’s survival and development, violence erodes family structures, jeopardises children’s education, generates social insecurity and consumes precious national resources.
Violence against children may be more prevalent and pronounced in certain environments due to contextual factors. These include the age, ability and gender of the child; the socio-economic status of the family and the presence or absence of a family support system; broader sociocultural norms; and the effectiveness of existing child protection services. Armed conflict has also aggravated children’s, especially girls’ vulnerability to sexual violence. In many African conflicts, extreme sexual violence and rape has been deployed as a weapon of war. gross violations of children’s rights have been reported from many war zones. during the conflict in Sierra leone, more than 70 per cent of the reported sexual violence were girls under 18, and more than 20 per cent of those were girls under 11. Another estimate from the conflict period shows that as many as 215,000 to 257,000 Sierra leonean women and girls may have been subjected to sexual violence. In the DRC in 2008, the un Population fund (unfPA) recorded 16,000 cases of sexual violence against women and girls. nearly 65 per cent of cases involved children, mostly adolescent girls. An estimated 10 per cent of victims in this period were children less than ten years old. It is clear that, despite encouraging progress on multiple fronts in Africa, most of the existing collaboration in addressing violence against children has only been limited to those having a curative, victim-support interventions, with limited involvement of those having a preventative focus. Read The African Report on Violence against Children (2014)
Outcome: Collective Efforts to eliminate violence against children in Africa.
EACSOF was invited to attend a regional consultation that brought together governments, civil society actors and experts working on the promotion-prevention-response continuum of interventions in the protection of children against violence. The event was attended by 70represenatives from the African Union Commission and the African Committee of Experts on the Rights and Welfare of the Child (ACERWC), East African Community (EAC), Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), Economic Community of Central African States ECCAS and Southern African Development Community (SADC), Government representatives, Representatives of pan-African, sub-regional and national CSO coalitions and networks, children and youth organizations, United Nations Special Representative of the Secretary-General on Violence against Children (UN SRSG-VAC) and UN Agencies, International NGOs, The Global Partnership to End Violence against Children, media and expert persons.
The main objective of the consultation was to present robust evidence towards accelerating collective regional efforts to prevent and respond to violence against children with the ultimate end of facilitating national action. The consultation aimed to:
- Identify priorities for continental, regional and national action to prevent and respond to violence against children
- Facilitate cross-learning and dialogue among organizations working on the protection of children against violence
- Facilitate evidence-based consensus around the need for collective, systemic efforts to prevent and respond to violence against children in Africa
The consultation facilitated dialogue and cross-learning among these actors. Jointly priorities were identified to paving the way for creating a collective continental front towards the elimination of violence against children in Africa.
The key outputs from the consulations included:
- Agreed focus and Strategies for the African Partnership to End Violence against Children
- Potential strategic linkages for partnership with similar African and global initiatives were identified
- Agreed Governance structure
- Preliminary membership profile of the partnership developed
- Commitment from potential members obtained
- Potential continental and regional entry points and opportunities identified for the Partnership’s immediate engagements
EACSOF key Achievement: EACSOF formed Alliances with the African Child Policy forum (ACPf) to fight together in ending child violence in the continent.
EACSOF will collaborate with ACPf to advocate ending child violence by bringing forward research and policy concerns to EAC policy makers.