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Tanzania Journal of Health Research

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Knowledge, attitudes and practices of parents on child sexual abuse and its prevention in Shinyanga district, Tanzania

Fredrick M. Mlekwa, Tumaini Nyamhanga, Phillipo L. Chalya, David Urassa

Abstract


Background: The role of parents in preventing child sexual abuse in the community in low-and-middle income countries has not been adequately emphasized. The objective of this study was to assess parents’ knowledge, attitudes and practices on child sexual abuse and its prevention in Shinyanga district, Tanzania in order to strengthen child protection.  

Methods: This was a cross-sectional study conducted during July 2015. Multistage cluster sampling technique was employed to obtain study participants from a list of sampling frame. Parents with children below 18 years old were randomly selected to form a study population. A quantitative technique using structured questions was used to assess parents’ knowledge, attitude and practices about preventing child sexual abuse.

Results: A total of 384 respondents were included in the study. The majority (95.6%) of respondents had high knowledge regarding prevention of child sexual abuse.  Majority (98.7%) of the respondents had positive attitudes on preventing child sexual abuse. However, only about a quarter (27.3%) of respondents had good practices on protection and prevention of child sexual abuse.

Conclusion: Knowledge and attitudes of parents on child sexual abuse prevention was high in the study area.  However, the practices of parents on child sexual abuse prevention were poor. Therefore, a public education programme is needed for parents, with the ultimate aim of protecting children from the preventable harm and trauma of sexual abuse in rural communities of Tanzania.



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