Concerns as cases of child abuse on the rise in Tanzania

Thursday 27 April 2023

Save the Children is saddened and appalled by the increase in cases of child abuse  some of which have resulted in violent deaths of six children in Kilimanjaro, Mwanza , Geita, Arusha and recently in Dar es salaam region in Chanika ward where a father is reported to have allegedly poisoned his three children. Sadly, two of these children have lost their lives. More cases of child abuse  in  Mbeya, Dar es Salaam and Mwanza  regions left four children with serious body injuries. A recent report by Legal and Human Rights Center showed child abuse is on the rise and is the leading violation of human rights in Tanzania. The report documented   350 cases of violence against children in 2022 alone, with 81% of them being sexual abuse.  Save the Children is expressing concerns that in all these cases, children are being harmed by the same people who should be protecting them, including uncles, parents, guardians, teachers, and family members. Violence against children must never be tolerated and any perpetrators of violence must be held to account. Save the Children calls on the Tanzanian government to prevent and respond to sexual violence against children, as this is essential to ensure children’s rights to survival, development, and well-being.

Angela Kauleni, Country Director for Save the Children in Tanzania, said:

“As a child rights organization, we are concerned by the incidences of child abuse occurring at home, in schools and communities perpetrated by parents, teachers, and other guardians who are harming children physically, sexually, and emotionally. We know that only extreme cases are making to the media and that is just a tip of the iceberg”.

While we acknowledge some positive steps taken by the government to respond, we are urging the government to invest more to both human and financial resources in existing measures that protect children from violence and continue to take serious and immediate action for the prosecution of the offenders across the country should an incident take place. Furthermore, Save the Children is urging the government to strengthen child protection systems including ensuring that the social welfare department is adequately resourced and facilitated in provision of its services including strengthening mental health and psychosocial support services, community level reporting systems for prevention, response and community awareness. We are also calling for concerted efforts from the community to ensure children are protected from harm and all incidences of violence are timely reported to respective authorities to stop loss of children’s lives.    

Save the Children has been providing support to children in Tanzania through its development and humanitarian programmes since 1986.  Our more than 100 years’ experience as an organization has informed us in developing and endorse an evidence-based technical package called Parenting Without Violence. The package aims to help organization and communities achieve Sustainable Development Goal Target 16.2 on ending violence against children.

We work with communities, local partners, and the government to design and deliver programmes to meet the needs of the most deprived children. We also advocate for greater investment of public and private resources for children. We implement programmes in health and nutrition; food security and livelihoods; child protection; child rights governance; education; humanitarian response and adolescent rights.

For further enquiries and interview requests, please contact:  

Jovitha Mlay- Advocacy and Campaigns Manager

Save the Children-Tanzania