CONTEXT: Evidence confirms associations between childhood violence and major causes of mortality in adulthood. A synthesis of data on past-year prevalence of violence against children will help advance the United Nations’ call to end all violence against children.
OBJECTIVES: Investigators systematically reviewed population-based surveys on the prevalence of past-year violence against children and synthesized the best available evidence to generate minimum regional and global estimates.
DATA SOURCES: We searched Medline, PubMed, Global Health, NBASE, CINAHL, and the World Wide Web for reports of representative surveys estimating prevalences of violence against children.
STUDY SELECTION: Two investigators independently assessed surveys against inclusion criteria and rated those included on indicators of quality.
DATA EXTRACTION: Investigators extracted data on past-year prevalences of violent victimization by country, age group, and type (physical, sexual, emotional, or multiple types). We used a triangulation approach which synthesized data to generate minimum regional prevalences, derived from population-weighted averages of the country-specific prevalences.
RESULTS: Thirty-eight reports provided quality data for 96 countries on past-year prevalences of violence against children. Base case estimates showed a minimum of 50% or more of children in Asia, Africa, and Northern America experienced past-year violence, and that globally over half of all children—1 billion children, ages 2–17 years—experienced such violence.
LIMITATIONS: Due to variations in timing and types of violence reported, triangulation could only be used to generate minimum prevalence estimates.
CONCLUSIONS: Expanded population-based surveillance of violence against children is essential to target prevention and drive the urgent investment in action endorsed in the United Nations 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda.
- Accepted December 7, 2015.
- Copyright © 2016 by the American Academy of Pediatrics