Background: Violence against children is a global public health crisis and is associated with poor mental and physical health outcomes. Childhood violence may also increase the risk of subsequent violence revictimization by an intimate partner. We aimed to understand cycles of violence among adolescent girls and young women in Namibia to inform violence prevention and treatment interventions. Methods: The 2019 Namibia Violence Against Children and Youth Survey (VACS) examined the prevalence of childhood violence and intimate partner violence among 18-24 year old adolescent girls and young women (N = 2434). Using the data, we assessed the prevalence of childhood violence, defined as any physical, sexual, or emotional violence victimization prior to age 18, and estimated the prevalence of intimate partner violence (IPV) after age 18. We used a weighted logistic regression to assess whether childhood violence exposure was associated with subsequent experience of IPV after age 18. Results: Adolescent girls and young women in Namibia had a statistically significant higher odds of experiencing IPV if they had experienced any childhood violence including physical, sexual, and/or emotional violence (adjusted odds ratio [aOR]: 2.93; 95% Confidence Interval [95% CI: 1.64-5.23). IPV was also significantly associated with childhood physical (aOR: 1.81; 95% CI: 1.07-3.05), sexual (aOR: 3.79; 95% CI: 2.54-5.67), or emotional (aOR: 2.39; 95% CI: 1.18-4.86) violence when each were considered separately. We also observed a dose-response relationship between the number of types of childhood violence and IPV experience as a young adult. Conclusions: Childhood violence is a significant predictor of subsequent violence revictimization by an intimate partner. This analysis provides unique insights on cycles of violence among adolescent girls and young women in Namibia and points to the need for interventions during childhood to prevent violence against children and break this cycle among young women in sub-Saharan Africa.
Keywords: Namibia; adolescent girls and young women; intimate partner violence; physical violence; sexual violence; violence against children; violence revictimization.