Prevalence of Violence Victimization and Perpetration Among Persons Aged 13-24 Years - Four Sub-Saharan African Countries, 2013-2015

MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep. 2019 Apr 19;68(15):350-355. doi: 10.15585/mmwr.mm6815a3.


Violence is a major public health and human rights concern, claiming over 1.3 million lives globally each year (1). Despite the scope of this problem, population-based data on physical and sexual violence perpetration are scarce, particularly in low-income and middle-income countries (2,3). To better understand factors driving both children becoming victims of physical or sexual violence and subsequently (as adults) becoming perpetrators, CDC collaborated with four countries in sub-Saharan Africa (Malawi, Nigeria, Uganda, and Zambia) to conduct national household surveys of persons aged 13-24 years to measure experiences of violence victimization in childhood and subsequent perpetration of physical or sexual violence. Perpetration of physical or sexual violence was prevalent among both males and females, ranging among males from 29.5% in Nigeria to 51.5% in Malawi and among females from 15.3% in Zambia to 28.4% in Uganda. Experiencing physical, sexual, or emotional violence in childhood was the strongest predictor for perpetrating violence; a graded dose-response relationship emerged between the number of types of childhood violence experienced (i.e., physical, sexual, and emotional) and perpetration of violence. Efforts to prevent violence victimization need to begin early, requiring investment in the prevention of childhood violence and interventions to mitigate the negative effects of violence experienced by children.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Africa South of the Sahara / epidemiology
  • Crime Victims / statistics & numerical data*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Prevalence
  • Violence / statistics & numerical data*
  • Young Adult