Violence Against Children and Youth Survey Resources

Fact Sheet:

Violence Against Children Survey (VACS) pdf icon[349 KB, 2 Pages]
This document provides an overview of VACS with a data snapshot and summarizes evidence-based prevention programs that countries can use after completing VACS.


Critical Elements of Interviewer Training for Engaging Children and Adolescents in Global Violence Research: Best Practices and Lessons Learned from the Violence Against Children Survey pdf icon[3 MB, 22 Pages]
This white paper describes strategies for interviewer recruitment and training for population-based studies on violence with child research participants. These strategies help ensure the quality of the data while maintaining respondent safety and encouraging disclosure of violence.

INSPIRE: Seven Strategies for Ending Violence Against Childrenexternal icon
INSPIRE: Seven strategies for ending violence against children identifies a select group of strategies that have shown success in reducing violence against children.

INSPIRE: Guide to Adaptation and Scale Upexternal icon
The guide serves as a resource on the adaptation and scale up of violence against children prevention programs to ensure that they are as much as possible aligned to existing evidence, and are part of each country’s national action plan.

INSPIRE Handbook: action for implementing the seven strategies for ending violence against childrenexternal icon
The INSPIRE handbook: action for implementing the seven strategies for ending violence against children explains in detail how to choose and implement interventions that will fit your needs and context.

INSPIRE Indicator Guidance and Results Frameworkexternal icon
The INSPIRE Indicator Guidance and Results Framework is designed to help governments and non-governmental organizations monitor progress and track change over time as they implement INSPIRE strategies to prevent and respond to violence against children.

Linking Violence Against Children and Youth Surveys to Coordinated and Effective Action: CDC and the Together for Girls Partnershipexternal icon
This report outlines the implementation steps, from the earliest stages in planning VACS and building stakeholder support to national programming using data to inform action.

Articles and Research Briefs

Violence Against Children and Youth Survey Methodology:

Nguyen KH, Kress H, Villaveces A, Massetti GM. Sampling design and methodology of the Violence Against Children and Youth Surveysexternal iconInj Prev 2018;0:1-7. Epub ahead of print.

Chiang LF, Kress H, Sumner SA, Gleckel J, Kawemama P, Gordon R. Violence Against Children Surveys (VACS): Towards a global surveillance system.external icon Injury Prevention 2016; 22: i17-i22. Research Brief

Mercy JA, Saul J, Hills S. The importance of integrating efforts to prevent violence against women and childrenexternal icon. Unicef.

Violence Against Children and Youth and HIV Risk:

Chiang L, Howard A, Stoebenau K, Massetti GM, Apondi R, Hegle J, Stamatakis C (2021). Sexual risk behaviors, mental health outcomes and attitudes supportive of wife-beating associated with childhood transactional sex among adolescent girls and young women: Findings from the Uganda Violence Against Children Surveyexternal icon. PLOS One, 16, e0249064.

Stamatakis C, Howard A, Chiang L, Massetti GM, Apondi R, Stoebenau K, Hegle J, Wasula L, Patel P (2021). Regional heterogeneity in violence and individual characteristics associated with recent transactional sex among Ugandan girls and young women: A national and regional analysis of data from the Violence Against Children and Youth Survey.external icon PLoS ONE, 16, e027030.

VanderEnde K, Chiang L, Mercy J, et al. Adverse childhood experiences and HIV sexual risk-taking behaviors among young adults in Malawiexternal iconJournal of Interpersonal Violence 2018; 33(11): 1710-1730. Research Brief

Chiang L, Chen J, Gladden MR, et al. HIV and Childhood Sexual Violence: Implications for Sexual Risk Behaviors and HIV Testing in Tanzania.external icon AIDS Education and Prevention 2015: Vol. 27, No. 5, pp. 474-487.

Sommarin C, Kilbane T, Mercy JA, et al. Preventing Sexual Violence and HIV in Childrenexternal icon. Journal of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndromes 2014; 66: p S217-S223

Health Consequences of Violence:

Stamatakis CE, Sumner SA, Massetti G, et al. Sexual Violence Prevalence and Related Pregnancy Among Girls and Young Women: A Multicountry Analysisexternal iconJournal of interpersonal violence 2020.

Nguyen KH, Kegler SR, Chiang L, Kress H. Effects of Poly-Victimization Before Age 18 on Health Outcomes in Young Kenyan Adults: Violence Against Children Surveyexternal iconViolence Vict. 2019;34(2):229–242.

Swedo E, Sumner S, Msungama W, et al. Childhood Violence Is Associated with Forced Sexual Initiation Among Girls and Young Women in Malawi: A Cross-Sectional Survey.external icon J Pediatr 2019; 208: 265-272.e1.

Chiang L, Howard A, Gleckel J, et al. Cycle of Violence among young Kenyan women: The link between childhood violence and adult physical intimate partner violence in a population-based surveyexternal iconChild Abuse and Neglect 2018; 84: 45-52. Research Brief

VanderEnde K, Mercy J, Shawa M, et al. Violence experiences in childhood are associated with men’s perpetration of intimate partner violence as a young adult: A multistage cluster survey in Malawi.external icon Annals of Epidemiology 2016; 26, 723-728. Research Brief

Breiding MJ, Mercy JA, Gulaid J, et al. A national survey of childhood physical abuse among females in Swazilandexternal iconJournal of Epidemiology and Global Health 2013; 3: 73-81. Research Brief

Reza A, Breiding MJ, Gulaid J, et al. Sexual violence and its health consequences for female children in Swaziland: A cluster survey study.external icon Lancet 2009; 373: 1966-1972. Research Brief

Risk and Protective Factors for Violence Against Children and Youth:

Annor FB, Gilbert LK, Davila EP, et al. Emotional violence in childhood and health conditions, risk-taking behaviors, and violence perpetration among young adults in Nigeriaexternal iconChild Abuse Negl. 2020;106:104510.

Cerna-Turoff I, Kane JC, Devries K, Mercy J, Massetti G, Baiocchi M. Did internal displacement from the 2010 earthquake in Haiti lead to long-term violence against children? A matched pairs study designexternal iconChild Abuse Negl. 2020;102:104393.

Lai BS, Osborne MC, De Veauuse-Brown N, Swedo EA, et al. Violence victimization and negative health correlates of youth in post-earthquake Haiti: Findings from the cross-sectional violence against children surveyexternal iconJ Affect Disord. 2020;270:59-64.

Stark, L., Seff, I., Hoover, A., Gordon, R., Ligiero, D., Massetti, G.M. Sex and age effects in past-year experiences of violence amongst adolescents in five countriesexternal icon. PLoS ONE 14(7):e0219073.

Devries K, Knight L, Petzold M, et al. Who perpetrates violence against children? A systematic analysis of age-specific and sex-specific dataexternal icon. BMJ Paediatrics Open 2018;2(1):1-15.

Miller GF, Chiang L, Hollis N. Economics and violence against children, findings from the Violence Against Children Survey in Nigeriaexternal iconChild Abuse and Neglect 2018; 85: 9-16. Research Brief

Gilbert L, Reza A, Mercy JA, et al. The experience of violence against children in domestic servitude in Haiti: Results from the Violence Against Children Survey, Haiti 2012external iconChild Abuse & Neglect 2018; 76: 184-193. Research Brief

Vagi KJ, Brookmeyer KA, Gladden RM, et al. Sexual violence against female and male children in the United Republic of Tanzania.external icon Violence Against Women 2016; 22: 1-20. Research Brief

Sumner SA, Marcelin LH, Cela T, et al. Sentinel events predicting later unwanted sex among girls: A national survey in Haiti, 2012.external icon Child Abuse and Neglect 2015; 50: 49-55. Research Brief

Breiding MJ, Reza A, Gulaid J, et al. Risk factors associated with sexual violence towards girls in Swazilandexternal iconBulletin of the World Health Organization 2011; 89: 203-210. Research Brief

Burden and Prevalence of Violence Against Children and Youth:

Annor FB, Chiang LF, Oluoch P, Mang’oli V, Mogaka M, Mwangi M, Ngunjiri A, Onyango F, Achia T, Patel P, Massetti GM, Dahlberg LD, Simon TR, Mercy JA (2021). Changes in violence among children and youth in Kenya – comparison of 2010 and 2019 Violence Against Children and Youth Surveys. The Lancet.

Kappel RH, Livingston MD, Patel SN, Villaveces A, Massetti, GM. Prevalence of Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) and associated health risks and risk behaviors among young women and men in Honduras. Child Abuse & Neglect 2021. icon

Kieselbach B, Kress H, MacMillan H, Perneger T. Prevalence of childhood exposure to intimate partner violence and associations with mental distress in Cambodia, Malawi, and Nigeria: A cross-sectional study. Child Abuse & Neglect 2020. icon

Swedo EA, Sumner SA, Hillis SD, et al. Prevalence of Violence Victimization and Perpetration Among Persons Aged 13–24 Years — Four Sub-Saharan African Countries, 2013–2015MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep 2019; 68:350–355. Research Brief

Fan AZ, Kress H, Gupta S, Wadonda-Kabondo N, et al. Do self-report data reflect the real burden of lifetime exposure to sexual violence among females aged 13-24 years in Malawi?external icon Child Abuse and Neglect 2016; 58: 72-79. Research Brief

Hillis S, Mercy J, Amobi A, et al. Global prevalence of past-year violence against children: A systematic review and minimum estimatesexternal iconPediatrics 2016; 137(3): 1-13. Research Brief

Flynn-O’Brien KT, Rivara FP, Weiss NS, et al. Prevalence of physical violence against children in Haiti: A national population-based cross-sectional survey.external icon Child Abuse and Neglect 2016; 51: 154-162. Research Brief

Sumner SA, Mercy JA, Saul J, et al. Prevalence of sexual violence against children and use of social services – seven countries, 2007-2013. MMWR 2015; 64(21): 565-569. Research Brief

Mwangi MW, Kellogg TA, Brookmeyer K et al. Perpetrators and context of child sexual abuse in Kenyaexternal iconChild Abuse and Neglect 2015; 44: 46-55. Research Brief

Other Health and Social Issues:

Gilbert LK, Annor FB, Kress H. Associations between endorsement of inequitable gender norms and intimate partner violence and sexual risk behaviors among youth in Nigeria: Violence Against Children Survey, 2014. Journal of Interpersonal Violence 2020. icon

Boudreau CL, Kress H, Rochat RW, Yount KM. Correlates of disclosure of sexual violence among Kenyan youthexternal icon. Child Abuse & Neglect 2018;79:164-172.

Nguyen K, Kress H, Atuchukwu V, et al. Disclosure of Sexual Violence Among Girls and Young Women Aged 13 to 24 Years: Results From the Violence Against Children Surveys in Nigeria and Malawiexternal iconJournal of Interpersonal Violence 2018; 1-17. Research Brief

Fan A, Liu J, Kress H, et al. Applying Structural Equation Modeling to Measure Violence Exposure and Its Impact on Mental Health: Malawi Violence Against Children and Young Women Survey, 2013external iconJournal of Interpersonal Violence 2017: 1-19. Research Brief

Sumner SA, Mercy JA, Buluma R, et al. Childhood sexual violence against boys: A study in 3 countries.external icon Pediatrics 2016; 5: 1-11. Research Brief

Hillis SD, Mercy JA, Saul JR. The enduring impact of violence against childrenexternal iconPsychology, Health & Medicine 2016, 22:4, 393-405.


Mercy JA, Saul J, Hills S. The importance of integrating efforts to prevent violence against women and childrenexternal icon. UNICEF.

The Violence Prevention Information System (Violence Info)external icon
This system collates published scientific information on the main types of interpersonal violence. It also describes what countries report about their actions to address violence.

Page last reviewed: October 15, 2021