Programs to Prevent Violence Against Children in Sub-Saharan Africa: A Systematic Review

Katie M. Edwards, Manasi Kumar, Emily A. Waterman, Natira Mullet, Beatrice Madeghe, Otsetswe Musindo

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


Violence against children—which includes maltreatment (including physical, sexual, psychological and emotional violence, and neglect), bullying (including cyberbullying), youth violence (including physical assault with or without weapons), intimate partner violence (including exposure to domestic violence and direct involvement in teen dating violence), and sexual violence—continues to present itself as a significant public health crisis in Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) leading to numerous short- and long-term deleterious outcomes. As such, the prevention of violence against children in SSA is a critical public health priority. In this systematic literature review, we identified 45 articles that reported on results from 22 programs that seek to reduce violence against children in SSA. Results suggested that programs that focus on (1) economic strengthening, (2) teachers schools, (3) entire families, (4) caregivers only, and (5) children only are generally effective in reducing violence against children by promoting focused action on the mechanisms of change (e.g., parenting skills, enhanced parent–child relationships, resistance skills for children). To date, no research in SSA has examined the impact of policy interventions on childhood victimization or community-level interventions to change norms and values that support violence against children. Future research is needed to examine the impacts of comprehensive efforts to prevent violence against children in SSA as well as factors that predict uptake and sustainability of such prevention efforts in SSA.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)593-612
Number of pages20
JournalTrauma, Violence, and Abuse
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2024
Externally publishedYes


  • Sub-Saharan Africa
  • adverse childhood experiences
  • child abuse
  • childhood victimization
  • review
  • violence against children


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