Risk factors and child sexual abuse among High School pupils in Lusaka District

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Mutaka, Maryn
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The aim of this study was to investigate risk factors and explore child sexual abuse among high school pupils in Lusaka District. Specifically, the study focused on identifying the forms of sexual abuse; examine the factors that put children at risk for sexual abuse; find out the grooming tactics used by sexual abusers; find out the disclosure rate for child sexual abuse cases; examine the abuser-victim relationships; and make recommendations for child sexual abuse prevention. Participants were secondary school pupils, with ages ranging from 16 to 21 years. Data was collected using self-report questionnaires and Focus Group Discussions. Data analysis was done using the Statistical Package for the Social Sciences (SPSS). The results show an overall prevalence rate of child sexual abuse to be 43.5% (n=87). Of the 87 victims, 41.1% (n=36) were males and 58.6% (n=51) were females. Among the forms of sexual abuse, sexual touch/arousal had the highest frequency (n=54, 62.1%). Most of the subjects (75.6%, n=19) did not disclose their sexual experiences, whereas only 24.4% (n=19) did. Most 4 abusers were found to be family members (n=39, 44%). 7 risk factors for sexual abuse were examined: the most powerful one was parental absence (n=63, 73.3%); having punitive parents (n=57, 68.7%); alcohol intake by a parent or other guardian (n=30, 34.5%); poor parent-child relationship (n=20, 23.7%); parental conflict (n=19, 22.4%); presence of a stepparent (n=13, 13.1%); and physical disability (n=4, 7%). In addition, chi-square results show that there is a significant relationship between the expected and observed frequencies obtained on the responses given for the risk factors. Furthermore, the results obtained from the FGDs show that the most frequently used trick for sexual abuse is the offer of money and /other gifts (n=21, 67.8%). Fifty-six (69%) of the victims lacked knowledge to know that the grooming they experienced would result into sexual abuse. The report makes suggestions on the roles of children, parents, the school and the general community in child sexual abuse prevention. It also gives recommendations for further study in the area of child sexual abuse, specifically to ascertain the levels of awareness among teachers, as these were identified as key players in the prevention of child sexual abuse. An evaluation of the existing sexual abuse prevention programs in Zambian schools is also recommended.
Child sexual abuse , Sexual abuse in Schools