Remarks by Ambassador Daniel L. Foote at the Launch of Zambia’s Violence Against Children Survey Report

Hotel Intercontinental, Lusaka, Zambia
November 7, 2018

 Honorable Minister of Youth, Sport and Child Development Moses Mawere
UNICEF Country Representative
Ministry of Health Representative
Representative of the University of Zambia’s Department Of Population Studies
Director of the Central Statistics Office
Ladies and gentlemen
All other protocols observed

Good Morning.

I am pleased to address this important gathering as we launch Zambia’s Health and Well Being Survey, more commonly known as the Violence Against Children Survey (VACS) report.  As we know, violence against children and youth is a global concern.  It has no cultural or geographic boundaries; it is often hidden or in some places even culturally acceptable.  Recent surveys conducted both in high-income countries and in other parts of Africa and Asia have shown a high incidence of violence against children, adolescents, and young adults.

Through the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), the U.S. government proudly supports the VACS launch.  Surveys like the Zambia VACS help to provide a comprehensive assessment of the incidence of violence against young people and related risk factors.  The results from such surveys help to break the silence on this phenomenon.  They also form a foundation for formulating effective policies and strategies to mitigate violence and to monitor progress towards protecting children and youth.  Equally important, the information helps to prevent future instances of violence.

As this effort shows, a national, multi-sectoral response plan represents the best way to undertake this exercise.  Government, non-governmental development partners, and civil society can mobilize the necessary human, financial, and technical resources to strengthen child protection services as well as services for adolescent and young adult survivors.  Such a multi-dimensional group is also well positioned to plan prevention activities to spare our children from experiencing violence in the future.  This can make a real difference in the lives of our young people.

Releasing results of this groundbreaking survey demonstrates the Zambian government’s willingness to protect the well-being of youth in Zambia.  I, therefore, congratulate the government for starting the report in 2014 and remaining committed to its conclusion.

The report that we unveil today provides national estimates that describe the magnitude and nature of sexual, physical, and emotional violence against young people aged between 13 and 24 years old.

We can no longer hide from the reality of the impact of violence perpetuated against children and youth.  There is need to support survivors of sexual, physical, and emotional violence by providing services that will help every child, adolescent, and young person overcome the trauma and to invest in prevention so that this violence does not continue.  In order to create a world where children are safe, protected, and thriving, governments needs to commit to developing and enhancing prevention and comprehensive response strategies.

The findings of the report should help support efforts to develop and implement effective youth-friendly violence prevention strategies, as well as to improve services for all Zambians.  It is my hope that the findings of the VACS report will provide scientific evidence that will help guide the Zambian government in policy and program decisions to improve prevention and responses to violence against children and youth across the country in the future.

I would like to thank and congratulate the Ministry of Youth, Sport, and Child Development, the Central Statistics Office, the University of Zambia’s Department of Population Studies, the United Nations Children’s Fund, and Save the Children International for this undertaking.

Thank you.