More than 4 in 10 of Colombia’s young adults were abused as minors: survey

(Image: Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson)

Almost 42% of Colombia’s young adults were victim of physical, sexual or psychological abuse as a child, according to the country’s first ever survey on child abuse.

The shocking statistic came from the Survey of Violence against boys, girls and adolescents, the first comprehensive study of violence against minors.

The survey was carried out by the Health Ministry and the Family Welfare Institute with the help of the International Organization of Migration (OIM) and the United States’ Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Domestic violence

The survey, which was held among 5,200 young adults, revealed how prevalent young Colombians’ experience was with abuse and violence, mainly in regards to physical and psychological abuse and domestic violence at home.

Almost 32% of the respondents said to have suffered physical abuse at home, more than 15% had suffered psychological abuse and almost one third said to have been witness to domestic violence.

Experience with physical violence

Source: Health Ministry

Sexual violence

The survey also sought to get more insight into the rampant sexual violence experienced by Colombia’s children and minors.

This primarily proved to be a problem for girls. More than 11% of all young women said to have suffered sexual harassment at home, 7% said they were forced or coerced to have sex and 6% suffered attempted rape.

According to the study, 72% percent of both male and female respondents said that the first time they fell victim to sexual violence was at home, followed by public spaces like markets or school.

Types of sexual abuse

Source: Health Ministry

Perpetrators of first act of sexual abuse against minors

Source: Health Ministry

The survey gave more insight in the extremely high prevalence of sexual violence against children in Colombia where, according to the Medical Examiner’s Office one child is raped every 20 minutes.

According to Vice-Health Minister Ivan Dario Gonzalez, the survey will help the government formulate a new policy to curb the rampant rates of reported violence against children and minors, reported newspaper El Espectador.

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