Background: Violence disclosure and help-seeking can mitigate adverse health effects associated with childhood violence, but little is known about facilitators and barriers of disclosure and help-seeking behaviors in sub-Saharan Africa.
Objective: To understand factors associated with disclosure and help-seeking to inform care.
Participants and setting: Participants aged 13-24 years old in the 2019 Namibia Violence Against Children and Youth Survey (VACS).
Methods: We assessed the prevalence of victimization, disclosure, and help-seeking and examined factors associated with violence disclosure and help-seeking, separately, by gender.
Results: 4211 girls and 980 boys participated in the Namibia VACS. The prevalence of childhood sexual violence differed significantly by gender (15.7% among girls, 9.8% among boys), but physical violence prevalence did not differ by gender. Among victims of sexual violence, 57.3% of girls disclosed and 10.4% sought help, compared with only 30.7% and 3.2% of boys. Among victims of physical violence, 61.1% of girls and 53.4% of boys disclosed, and 16.9% of girls and 17.7% of boys sought help. Older age, social support, and experiencing more types of violence were associated with sexual violence disclosure among boys, but none of these factors were associated with sexual violence disclosure among girls. Lower education, perpetrator type, and witnessing violence were associated with physical violence disclosure among girls, while peer support and perpetrator type were associated with physical violence disclosure among boys.
Conclusions: Factors associated with childhood violence differed by gender and violence type in Namibia, highlighting a need for gender-specific violence services to facilitate violence disclosure and help-seeking.
Keywords: Adolescents; Disclosure; Help-seeking; Namibia; Physical violence; Sexual violence; Violence against children.
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