1 in every 4 children sexually abused before 13 years; Parents leading the vice

Zahra Namuli

Even amidst immense interventions Uganda’s children continue to face violence inflicted upon them by persons close to them, a new report reveals.

The report dubbed a Uganda Violence against Children survey, provides data on prevalence, nature and consequences of physical, emotional and sexual violence against Children.

According to the Survey, three in four children in Uganda have experienced some form of violence during their childhood.

Mondo Kyateka, the commissioner for Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development said the report indicates that violence is rife in this country, children are violated at home, on the way to school, at school and on the way back.

The report further presents parent’s as perennial culprits when it comes to physical, emotional and sexual abuse of their children.

“The people who sexually abuse children are close, relatives, neighbors that we have trusted but end up abusing our children,” he said.

Busoga, and central Uganda have been cited to have the highest incidents of Violence against children.

Of the 18- 24 year olds, 1in 3 girls and 1 in six boys reported some experiencing sexual violence during childhood.

The girls experienced sexual violence in the evenings at home, on the road to or at school.

“Social support systems are weak, the societal weakness affect duty bearers including the police where we think that the child can not come up openly about the abuser we need to address this and also ignorance of the law,” Emilian Kayima, Uganda Police Spokesperson said.

The report adds that since more girls face sexual abuse compared to their male counterpart’s cases of teenage pregnancy, Sexually Transmitted Infections, Mental distress are higher among the girl child.

Worrying however is that few of these can even access basic medication or counseling.

To curb violence against Children in schools the Education Ministry is  to Enforce Teacher’s Code of conduct to Reduce Sexual Violence in Schools
The report shows that more than 20 percent of all forms of sexual violence that involve children take place at school.
“We are going to review and enforce our teachers conduct because it has come to our notice that teachers who are supposed to help students end up abusing them by engaging in sexual activity,” the State Minister for Primary Education, Rosemary Seninde.

According to Seninde, the current code of conduct doesn’t call upon teachers to report suspected cases of violence against children.
Violence against children is costly to society and destructive to individuals and families.

Globally an estimated one billion children experience moderate to severe violence.

Uganda is the latest among several countries such as Swaziland, Tanzania, Kenya, Malawi that have completed data collection for similar violence against children surveys.


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