Eastern Uganda is the most violent region against children, according to the Uganda Violence against Children Survey released by the Gender, Labour and Social Development Ministry Thursday morning.
According to the survey, the most common forms of violence against children are either physical in nature or emotional followed by sexual violence. The physical forms of violence include acts like; punching, kicking, whipping, beating, strangulation, suffocation and burning of children for acts while the emotional violence include verbal abuse or ridiculing children.
The sexual forms according to the report include unwanted sexual touches, attempted forced sex, forced sex and being pressured into sex. The survey shows that girls and boys in Eastern Uganda experience the highest forms of sexual and physical violence compared to emotional abuse.
At least 33.9 percent of the children in Eastern Uganda face sexual forms of violence followed by 30.4 percent in Central and 21.8 percent in Northern Uganda. Sexual violence in the Western region stands at 20.2 percent on average.
70.3 percent of children in the Eastern region experience physical violence before they reach the age of 18 followed by 66.32 percent in Central Uganda. Both Northern and Western Uganda come in at 57.75 percent and 55.16 percent respectively.
When it comes to emotional violence, Central Uganda stood out with 41.8 percent followed by Eastern region with 36.5 percent and Western with 29.3 percent. Northern region stands at 27.3 percent.
Lydia Najjemba, the Focal Person Orphans and Vulnerable Children in the Department of Children in the Labor, Gender and Labor Development Ministry, says all regions of the country are in a terrible state when it comes to violence against children.
The findings show that children in urban areas are more susceptible to abuse compared to those in rural areas. The report estimates that 50 percent of the children that live in urban areas experience some sort of violence before they reach 18 years of age.
Rosemary Seninde, the State Minister for Primary Education, says people around children need to be sensitized on what violence against children means because the current situation shows that Uganda still has a long way to go to stop violence against children.
Hajat Janat Mukwaya, the Minister of Gender Labour and Social Development, says the findings of the study will help guide government in its policies on children.
“This survey brings to light the widespread nature and problem of violence against children in the country. The findings will provide crucial evidence to help us better prevent and respond to violence against children across the country in future,” the Minister said.
The national survey was carried out for three years in more than 50 districts across the country.