The Child Sexual Abuse Epidemic in Addis Ababa: Some Reflections on Reported Incidents, Psychosocial Consequences and Implications
AbstractBackground: Though child sexual abuse is a universal phenomenon, only reported cases of the incidence are common source of information to get insight on how to understand the problem. Besides, investigating complaints presented by victims themselves would be a stepping stone for designing prevention and rehabilitation programs. The objective of this study was to identify the nature of sexual incidence and experience victims face.
Methods: The research was conducted by collecting reported child sexual abuse cases from Child Protection Units of Addis Ababa Police Commission and three selected non-governmental organizations working for the welfare of sexually abused children in Addis Ababa. 64 selected samples of victim children were included from the three organizations. They completed a semi-structured questionnaire and data were analyzed.
Results: Of the total reported crime cases committed against children (between July 2005 and December 2006), 23% of them were child sexual victimization. On average, 21 children were reported to be sexually abused each month where majority of the sexual abuse incidence were committed against female children in their own home by someone they closely know. The psychological trauma and physical complaints presented by victims include symptoms of anxiety and depression.
Conclusion: It was found out that child sexual abuse cases presented to the legal office was not properly managed. Female children appear to be more prone to sexual abuse than their male counterparts. By virtue of their nature, many children are at risk of sexual victimization by people they truest. Based on the findings, several implications are made, which includes the importance of nation-wide study to formulate a comprehensive policy guideline for protection and criminalization of child sexual abuse in Ethiopia.