Nearly nine out of ten children in Swaziland suffer violent discipline in the home, a UNICEF report reveals.
Nearly four in ten suffer sexual violence and one in three are bullied.
UNICEF (the United Nations Children’s Fund) reports that much of this is kept secret within the family.
UNICEF says according to national data violent discipline in the home, which includes physical punishment and psychological aggression, affects more than 88 per cent of all children in Swaziland. The study findings also reveal that sexual violence and bullying affects 38 per cent and 32 percent of children in Swaziland, respectively.
Many children suffer more than one kind of violence.
UNICEF reports, ‘One staggering statistic to emerge from the data revealed that for every girl child known to Social Welfare as having experienced sexual violence, there are an estimated 400 girls who have never received help or assistance for sexual violence.’
Orphans and children with disabilities were found to be more vulnerable to all types of violence. Food insecurity and living with three or more other families during childhood years was found to be associated with increased risk for violence in girls.
UNICEF says one of the key factors affecting children is the concept of ‘tibi tendlu’, which translates to ‘family secrets.’ UNICEF says, ‘The widely accepted notion of keeping family matters private to protect the family or community over the individual was repeatedly cited as a driver of violence and was also found to be a factor dissuading individuals from intervening when they suspect a child is abused.’
UNICEF says that some people have faced retaliation after reporting childhood violence.
UNICEF calls for an end to corporal punishment in all settings.
In 2016, a global survey found children’s rights in Swaziland were under protected and are in a ‘difficult situation’. The Realization of Children’s Rights Index (RCRI) scored the kingdom ruled by King Mswati III, sub-Saharan Africa’s last absolute monarch 6.07 out of ten.
This is a grade between 0 and 10 that shows the level of realization of children’s rights in a country. The lower the score, the lower is the realisation of rights. The RCRI index classified rights for children in Swaziland as a ‘difficult situation’.
The survey was conducted by Humanium, an international child sponsorship NGO dedicated to stopping violations of children’s rights throughout the world.
It highlighted a number of areas where children’s rights were violated. It said that some children ‘remain starving’ while the King ‘leads a lifestyle of luxury’.
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