Background: The Kenya Violence against Children Study (VACS) is the first national survey of violence against children in Kenya and was designed to yield lifetime and current estimates of violence and the association of such violence with HIV/STD transmission risk. The purposes of this presentation are to (1) examine relationships between how forms of violence may co-occur in childhood, including emotional, physical and sexual violence and (2) understand how patterns of violence exposure are linked to distinct sexual health outcomes.
Methods: VACS, a nationally representative household survey of 1,306 females and 1,622 males 13 to 24 years of age, used a three-stage cluster sample survey design. 238 clusters were randomly selected; an equal probability systematic sampling method was applied in each cluster to select a uniform sample of households per cluster. In each selected household that had an eligible 13 to 24 year old, one female or male was randomly selected using the Kish method.
Results: Among 18 to 24 year olds, 13% of females and 9% of males experienced sexual, physical and emotional violence prior to age 18. Only 6% of females and 1% of males experienced childhood sexual violence without reporting physical or emotional violence. Initial analyses indicate that males who experienced childhood sexual violence were more likely to meet criteria for a STD diagnosis in the past year than males who had not experienced sexual violence (p < .01). Additional analysis will examine how multiple violence exposures are linked to sexual health outcomes.
Conclusions: Results indicate that the prevalence of violence against children should be further addressed in Kenya and that children often face multiple forms of exposure. Such research has implications for breaking down silos of medical care and the design of increasingly effective HIV/STD service delivery for those children who continue to experience violence.