Abuja, September 10 2015,: Findings from the Nigeria Violence Against Children Survey, the population-based study that provides the first nationally representative data on the prevalence of sexual, physical, and emotional violence among female and male children in Nigeria, were released in Abuja today.
The groundbreaking survey, carried out by the National Population Commission, with support from UNICEF and the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, found a high prevalence of violence against children in Nigeria. Approximately 6 out of every 10 Nigerian children under the age of 18 years experience some form of physical, emotional and sexual violence before the age of 18 years. One in two children experience physical violence, one in four girls and one in ten boys experience sexual violence, and one in six girls and one in five boys experience emotional violence.
The majority of children never tell anyone about their experience and less than 5% of children who experience violence ever receive the support they need to recover.
The survey found that childhood violence has a long term impact that lasts well into adulthood, including poorer mental and physical health outcomes. Individuals who experienced physical and sexual violence in childhood were also significantly more likely to perpetrate intimate partner violence.
“The survey clearly shows that violence against children is not confined to marginalized groups. Violence against children transcends social and economic status – it impacts rich and poor, urban and rural, educated and out of school children. It is a problem that affects all corners of society. ” said the Federal Commissioner Board of the National Population Commission, Dr. Gunde Lakoju.
Nigeria is the first country in the West African sub-region and the 9th country in the world to conduct this survey, responding to the recommendation from the UN Secretary General for countries to undertake their own national surveys to develop context specific actions to tackle violence against children.
“The survey highlights that millions of Nigerian children are suffering violence every year and most are suffering in silence. We cannot allow these findings to sit on the shelf” said Permanent Secretary of the Federal Ministry of Women Affairs and Social Development Dr Ezekiel Oyemomi, “They are an urgent call not only for Government, but also for all Nigerians to take action to end violence against children.”
To develop a robust response plan to the findings of the survey, the Federal Ministry of Women Affairs and Social Development convened an inter-agency Technical Working Group on Violence Against Children, comprising representatives from all the key Ministries, Departments and Agencies, as well as Civil Society Organisations and Faith Based Organisations.
Government and non government bodies will announce their priority actions on Tuesday 15th September, during the launch of the Year of Action to End Violence Against Children by the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
“The Government of Nigeria is to be congratulated on the launch of the Nigeria Violence Against Children Survey and for its commitment to end violence against children” noted UNICEF Nigeria Representative Jean Gough. “UNICEF will continue to support Nigeria in its efforts to ensure that all children can grow up free from sexual, physical and emotional violence”.
“A nation’s future may be measured by how it treats and provides for its children” said Country Director, US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Hank Tomlinson. “A just, vibrant, and thriving Nigeria is predicated on protecting children from violence, abuse, neglect and exploitation. The country’s needs are now clear and our commitment to addressing them must not waiver.”
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