header image
Who Perpetrates Violence Against Children? A systematic analysis of age-specific and sex-specific data

Small banner for home page

The Alliance e-Learning Hub
For more information

Warning message

The subscription service is currently unavailable. Please try again later.

Who Perpetrates Violence Against Children? A systematic analysis of age-specific and sex-specific data

Date of publication: 
01 Jan 2017


Devries, Karen
Knight, Louise
Petzold, Max
Merrill, Katherine G.
Maxwell, Lauren
Williams, Abigail
Cappa, Claudia
Chan, Ko Ling
Garcia-Moreno, Claudia
Hollis, Natasha
Kress, Howard
Peterman, Amber
Walsh, Sophie D.
Kishor, Sunita
Guedes, Alessandra
Bott, Sarah
Butron Riveros, Betzabe C.
Watts, Charlotte
Abrahams, Naeemah
BMJ Paediatrics
Publication type: 
Other Documents
Studies, Reviews and Research

The epidemiology of violence against children is likely to differ substantially by sex and age of the victim and the perpetrator. Thus far, investment in effective prevention strategies has been hindered by lack of clarity in the burden of childhood violence across these dimensions. We produced the first age-specific and sex-specific prevalence estimates by perpetrator type for physical, sexual and emotional violence against children globally. We used random effects meta-regression to estimate prevalence. Estimates were adjusted for relevant quality covariates, variation in definitions of violence and weighted by region-specific, age-specific and sex-specific population data to ensure estimates reflect country population structures. Secondary data from 600 population or school-based representative datasets and 43 publications obtained via systematic literature review, representing 13 830 estimates from 171 countries. Estimates for recent violence against children aged 0–19 were included. The most common perpetrators of physical and emotional violence for both boys and girls across a range of ages are household members, with prevalence often surpassing 50%, followed by student peers. Children reported experiencing more emotional than physical violence from both household members and students. The most common perpetrators of sexual violence against girls aged 15–19 years are intimate partners; however, few data on other perpetrators of sexual violence against children are systematically collected internationally. Few age-specific and sex-specific data are available on violence perpetration by schoolteachers; however, existing data indicate high prevalence of physical violence from teachers towards students. Data from other authority figures, strangers, siblings and other adults are limited, as are data on neglect of children. Without further investment in data generation on violence exposure from multiple perpetrators for boys and girls of all ages, progress towards Sustainable Development Goals 4, 5 and 16 may be slow. Despite data gaps, evidence shows violence from household members, peers in school and for girls, from intimate partners, should be prioritised for prevention. Alliance Materials

CP AoR and Coordination Groups
CP Practitioners
Humanitarian Field workers
Other Humanitarian Actors

Useful information


To contact us, you can send an email to info@alliancecpha.org or use the form on our contact page