Perceptions of Child Sexual Abuse among Convicted Prisoners in Zambia

  • C Kamuwanga
  • CM Ngoma


Background: Child sexual abuse occurs worldwide including in Zambia. Despite Government efforts to minimize the scourge, the prevalence of defilement is still very high.

Objective: The purpose of the study was to explore and describe convicted prisoners' perceptions of child sexual abuse.

Methods: This was a qualitative study that was carried out among inmates in Lusaka central Prison. Purposive sampling method was used to select the study sample. Eighty nine males aged between 17 and 80 consented and participated in the study. Data were collected using a focus group discussion guide and the discussions were tape recorded. A total of twelve focus group discussions were conducted with the inmates. Each group comprised 6-12 participants with similar characteristics. Data were analyzed using content analysis. The narrative data from participants was analysed to identify prominent themes and patterns among the themes. The analysis of data was conducted simultaneously with data collection. The audio-taped discussions were transcribed and translated from vernacular into English and compared with the field notes. Open coding was done line by line and paragraph by paragraph. Similar responses were grouped together into categories and regrouped into subcategories. Data were constantly compared throughout the process of coding.

Results: Participants were aware of the meaning of child sexual abuse and a girl child was more vulnerable to sexual abuse than a boy child. They attributed child sexual abuse was to lack of parental guidance and supervision, men's lack of sexual self control, alcohol and drug abuse and poverty and HIV/AIDS. Participants stated that child sexual abuse occurs in hidden places and any male is a potential abuser. The inmates reported that traditional beliefs and practices associated with child sexual abuse exist and this scourge can be prevented by punishing the perpetrators.

Conclusion and recommendations: The present study showed that the child sexual abuse is common in Zambia. Therefore, there is a need to intensify information education and communication messages on prevention of child sexual and to strengthen and enforce laws regarding child sexual abuse.


Journal Identifiers

eISSN: 0047-651X
print ISSN: 0047-651X