• Doris Kakuru University of Victoria
Keywords: violence against children, children's rights, childism, adultism, child protection


Despite global and African continental efforts to curb violence against children (VAC), it is the fourth leading cause of death for young people aged 15 to 19 in Africa, according to a 2021 UNICEF report. In introducing this special issue on VAC in Africa, I contend that violence prevention and response efforts ought to be situated in local understandings of how violence is inflicted and experienced. Sociocultural and political ideals and values present in Africa nurture an atmosphere in which adults exercise power over children’s lives and can inflict harm upon them if they choose. Age-based power (adultism) facilitates VAC. Therefore, this special issue is underpinned by childism as a framework for challenging adultism in an effort to achieve a contextualized understanding of VAC in Africa, and how best to respond to and ultimately prevent it.


Download data is not yet available.


Metrics Loading ...

Author Biography

Doris Kakuru, University of Victoria

Associate professor, School of Child and Youth Care


African Committee on the Rights and Welfare of the Child (ACERWC). (2016). Africa’s agenda for children: Fostering an Africa fit for children.

Alderson, P. (2020). Adultism. In D. T. Cook (Ed.), The Sage encyclopedia of children and childhood studies (Vol. 1, p. 30). SAGE. doi:10.4135/9781529714388.n17

Artz, L., Ward, C. L., Leoschut, L., Kassanjee, R., & Burton, P. (2018). The prevalence of child sexual abuse in South Africa: the Optimus Study South Africa. SAMJ: South African Medical Journal, 108(10), 791–792. doi:10.7196/SAMJ.2018.v108i10.13533

Better Care Network. (2017). Violence against children and care in Africa: A discussion paper.

Christensen, K. R. (2010). Nonviolence, peace, and justice: A philosophical introduction. Broadview.

Churchill, R. P. (2011). Violence. In D. K. Chatterjee (Ed.), Encyclopedia of global justice (pp. 1126–1130). Springer. doi:10.1007/978-1-4020-9160-5_405

CivSource Africa. (2021). Networking to address violence against children in East Africa: An exploratory study [Research report].

Curtin, D. W., & Litke, R. (Eds.). (1999). Institutional violence (Value inquiry book series 88). Brill Rodopi.

Haffejee, S., & Levine, D. T. (2020). ‘When will I be free’: Lessons from COVID-19 for child protection in South Africa. Child Abuse & Neglect, 110, 104715.doi:10.1016/j.chiabu.2020.104715

James, A. (2011). To be (come) or not to be (come): Understanding children’s citizenship. The ANNALS of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, 633(1), 167–179. doi:10.1177/0002716210383642

Kaawa-Mafigiri, D., & Walakira, E. J. (Eds.). (2017). Child abuse and neglect in Uganda. Springer. doi:10.1007/978-3-319-48535-5

Katz, I., Katz, C., Andresen, S., Bérubé, A., Collin-Vézina, D., Fallon, B., Fouché, A., Haffejee, S., Masrawa, N., Muñoz, P., Priol-Filho, S. R., Tarabulsy, G., Truter, E., Varela, N., & Wekerle, C. (2021). Child maltreatment reports and Child Protection Service responses during COVID-19: Knowledge exchange among Australia, Brazil, Canada, Colombia, Germany, Israel, and South Africa. Child Abuse & Neglect, 116, Art. 105078. doi:10.1016/j.chiabu.2021.105078

Lansdown, G. (2005). The evolving capacities of the child. UNICEF, Innocenti Research Centre. Organization of African Unity. (1990). African charter on the rights and welfare of the child.

Qvortrup, J. (1985). Placing children in the division of labour. In P. Close & R. Collins (Eds.), Family and economy in modern society (pp. 129–145). Palgrave Macmillan. doi:10.1007/978-1-349-17795-0_7

Sami, V. M. D. (2022). Unfolding children’s agency in ensuring child protection. In S. Deb (Ed.), Child safety, welfare and well-being (pp. 253–268). Springer. doi:10.1007/978-981-16-9820-0_15

Sserwanja, Q., Kawuki, J., & Kim, J. H. (2021). Increased child abuse in Uganda amidst COVID‐19 pandemic. Journal of Paediatrics and Child Health, 57(2), 188–191. doi:10.1111/jpc.15289

Tamale, S. (2020). Decolonization and Afro-feminism. Daraja. UN Committee on the Rights of the Child. (2011). General comment No. 13 (2011) [CRC/C/GC/13].

UN General Assembly. (2015). Transforming our world: The 2030 agenda for sustainable development [A/RES/70/1].

UNICEF. (2021). The state of the world’s children 2021: On my mind – Promoting, protecting and caring for children’s mental health [Flagship report].

United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, November 20, 1989.

United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs, Population Division. (2020). World population prospects 2019: Highlights (ST/ESA/SER.A/423).

Vohito, S. (2017). Violence against children in Africa. In G. Lenzer (Ed,), Violence against children (pp. 104–124). Routledge.

Wall, J. (2019). From childhood studies to childism: reconstructing the scholarly and social imaginations. Children's Geographies, 20(3), 257–270. doi:10.1080/14733285.2019.1668912

Wangamati, C. K., Sundby, J., & Prince, R. J. (2018). Communities’ perceptions of factors contributing to child sexual abuse vulnerability in Kenya: A qualitative study. Culture, Health & Sexuality, 20(12), 1394–1408. doi:10.1080/13691058.2018.1438666

Warming, H. (2020). Childism. In D. T. Cook (Ed.), The Sage encyclopedia of children and childhood studies (Vol. 1, pp. 356–357). SAGE. doi:10.4135/9781529714388.n137

World Health Organization. (2014). Global status report on violence prevention 2014.

World Health Organization. (2020). Global status report on preventing violence against children 2020.

How to Cite
Kakuru, D. (2022). TOWARDS A LOCALIZED UNDERSTANDING OF VIOLENCE AGAINST CHILDREN AND ADOLESCENTS IN AFRICA. International Journal of Child, Youth and Family Studies, 13(2-3), 1-9.

Most read articles by the same author(s)