Sexual Violence against Children in Rwanda: Prevalence and Associated Factors

  • Alypio Nyandwi African Population and Health Research Center
  • Fredinah Namatovu Umea University-Sweden
  • Vincent Rusanganwa Rwanda Ministry of Health
  • Cyprien Munyanshongore School of Public Health, College of Medicine and Health Sciences, University of Rwanda, Kigali, Rwanda
  • Laetitia Nyirazinyoye School of Public Health, College of Medicine and Health Sciences, University of Rwanda, Kigali, Rwanda
  • Prata Ndola University of California
  • Jean Damascene Nshimiyimana National Rehabilitation Service (Rwanda)
  • Marie-Gloriose Ingabire International Development Research Centre
  • Anastasie Nyirabahinde Rwanda Ministry of Gender and Family Promotion
  • Natasha Salant Clinton Health Access Initiative
  • Mecthilde Kamukunzi World Health Organization
Keywords: Sexual Violence, Sexual Abuse, Children, Child Abuse, Rwanda, Children protection



Information and data on the burden and factors associated with violence against children are critical in designing and implementing preventive strategies and interventions. This study aimed to examine patterns of the prevalence of sexual violence (SV) against children in Rwanda and investigate associated factors to contribute to the knowledge about violence against children in Rwanda.


A sample of 1,110 children aged 13-17 years from a cross-sectional national survey done in Rwanda in 2015 was analysed. Weighted descriptive statistics were applied to describe the prevalence of SV against children, and weighted logistic regression allowed us to investigate factors associated with it.


Over eight percent (8.4%) of all children, including about three percent (2.8%) of male children and around five percent (5.6%) of female children, reported having experienced SV within the last twelve months. Being a female child, having a romantic partner, and not attending school were some factors associated with SV against children in Rwanda.


Female children reported more SV than male children. Factors associated with sexual violence pertained to the child’s characteristics, family or household background characteristics, and community relations. The study findings call for an urgent need to prevent SV against children through awareness raising about it amongst children and the general public.

Rwanda J Med Health Sci 2022;5(3):302-314


Journal Identifiers

eISSN: 2616-9827
print ISSN: 2616-9819