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This study analyses data from national Violence Against Children (VAC) surveys in Cambodia, Haiti, Kenya, Malawi, Nigeria and Tanzania, to examine the prevalence and dynamics around disclosure, reporting and help-seeking behaviours among children who have experienced physical and/or sexual violence. The study found that the prevalence of help-seeking behaviour varied by context; ranging from 23% to 54% for informal disclosure, while knowledge of where to seek help ranged from 16% to 28%. Formal disclosure and help seeking was lower, ranging from under 1% to 25%, and from 1% to 11% for receipt of formal help. Children’s reported reasons for not seeking help varied across the countries. However, there were some shared reasons. In Kenya, Malawi and Nigeria, the most common reason was apathy (for not seeking help for sexual or physical violence), followed by being afraid of repercussions (for not seeking help for physical violence).   

The study feeds into understanding programme and policy options for reaching child survivors of violence, and suggests different strategies to improve the use of services, including addressing context-specific barriers.