ATTITUDES ON CHILDREN VICTIMS OF SEXUAL ABUSE AND THE RELEVANCE OF POVERTY REDUCTION POLICIES IN DEVELOPING COUNTRIES: A TANZANIAN PERSPECTIVE
Children who are sexually abused are likely to encounter discrimination, feel blameworthy, and a lack of support from the very people who should support them. Questions asked of the victim, such as “why were you raped," are the norm, though it is the perpetrator who should be asked why he raped. More importantly, poverty in families is both a cause and an effect of child sexual abuse. This paper employs doctrinal research methodology to examine the attitudes to, and cultural perspectives of, child sexual abuse and the relevance of poverty-reduction policies in addressing child sexual abuse. It is argued that there is a link between cultural ideologies and poverty when it comes to child sexual abuse in Tanzania. There, for example, children are abused on the grounds of superstition and the belief that sexual intercourse by an adult with a child will make the perpetrator rich. Furthermore, because of poverty, families are reluctant to report sexual abuse committed within the confines of the family, especially when the perpetrator is a breadwinner, or when there is “compensation”. This paper concludes that, despite the fact that Tanzania has taken various measures to address child sexual abuse, cultural ideologies should be addressed hand in hand with comprehensive policies on poverty reduction when addressing child sexual abuse.
International and regional instruments
African Union. African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child, OAU Doc.
CAB/LEG/24.9/49.1990). Entered into force 1999 November 29.
United Nations. Convention on the Rights of the Child.1989. G.A. Res. 44/25, annex, 44 U.N. GAOR Supp.
(No. 49) at 167, U.N. Doc. A/44/49 (1989), entered into force 1990 September 2.
United Nations. Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and
Children. 2000. Supplementing the United Nations Convention Against Transnational Organized Crime, G.A.
Res. 25, annex II, U.N. GAOR, 55th Sess., Supp. No. 49, at 60, U.N. Doc. A/55/49 (Vol. I) (2001), entered into
force 2003 December 25.
TANZANIA. Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act. 6 of 2008.
TANZANIA. The Law of the Child Act. 21 of 2009.
TANZANIA. The Penal Code. Chapter 16 of the Laws of Tanzania.
Articles, monographs, reports, etc.
Badoe, E., 2017. A critical review of child sexual abuse and its management in Africa. African Journal of
Emergency Medicine. 7 (Suppl.), 32-35.
Bakta, S. 2018. Proceedings of a child victim of sexual offence: questioning the compatibility of Tanzanian laws
with international standards. The Tanzania Lawyer.1 (2), 39-74.
Banwari, M. 2011. Poverty, child Sexual abuse and HIV in the Transkei Region, South Africa. African Health
Sciences 11 (1), 117-121.
BBC News/Swahili. 2019. Father ‘sold’ a child to Tanzanian killers for $2,000. Retrieved from
https://www.bbc.com/swahili/habari-48252658 [2019, June 03].
Bizikova, L. 2011. Understanding the contribution of the environment to human well-being: A review of
literature. Winnipeg, Canada: International Institute for Sustainable Development. Retrieved from
https://www.iisd.org/pdf/2012/understanding_contribution_environment.pdf [2019, June, 17].
Bower, C. 2003. The relationship between child abuse and poverty. Agenda: Empowering Women for Gender
Equity. 56, 84-87.
Brooks-Gunn, J. & Duncan, G. J. 1997. The effects of poverty on children. The Future of Children. 7 (2), 55-71.
Citizen Reporter. 2019 (January 28). 10 Children brutally killed in suspected ritual murders. The Citizen,
Retrieved from https://www.thecitizen.co.tz/news/10-children-brutally-killed-in-suspected-ritualmurders/1840340-4954892-lyoi8n/index.html. [2019 June 21].
Seraphina M. Bakta / Attitudes on Children Victims of Sexual Abuse…..
Compassion International. 2019. Effects of poverty on children. Retrieved from
Dubowitz, H., (2017) Child sexual abuse and exploitation: A global glimpse. Child abuse& Neglect 66, 2-8.
Fourie, A.N .2015. Expounding the place of legal doctrinal methods in legal Interdisciplinary research.
Erasmus Law Review.3. 95-109.
Haughton, J. & Khandker,S. 2009, Handbook on poverty and inequality. Washington DC: World Bank.
Hillis, S. 2016. Global prevalence of past-year violence against children: a systematic review and minimum
estimates. Pediatrics. 137 (3), 1-14.
Kamazima, S., Ezekiel M. & Kazaura. M. 2016 Study report: dynamics of trafficking in persons in Tanzania.
Dar es Salaam: International Organisation for Migration.
Kimati, B. 2017. TASAF money fails the poor. Guardian on Sunday, 8 January.
Kenny C. & McEceny G. 2000. Racial, ethnic and cultural factors of childhood sexual abuse: A selected review
of the literature. Clinical Psychology Review. 20 (7), 905-922.
Koyabashi, J., Becker, J.V., Sales, B. & Figuerdo, A.J. 1995. Perceived parental deviance, parent-child bonding,
child abuse, and child sexual aggression. A Journal of Research and Treatment. 7 (1), 25-44.
Lalor, K.2004a. Child sexual abuse in sub-Saharan Africa: a literature review. Child Abuse and Neglect 28 (4):
Lalor, K 2004b. Child sexual abuse in Tanzania and Kenya. Child Abuse and Neglect. 28 (8), 833-844.
Legal and Human Rights Centre. 2018. Human rights report 2018. Retrieved from
Legal and Human Rights Centre. 2018. Human rights situation report January–June 2018. Retrieved from
Legal and Human Rights Centre & Zanzibar Legal Services Centre. 2016. Tanzania human rights report – 2016:
mainland and Zanzibar. Retrieved from https://www.humanrights.or.tz/assets/attachments/1504340301.pdf
, June 11].
Murray L., Nguyen A. & Cohen J., 2014. Child sexual abuse. Child Adolesc Psychiatr Clin N Am 23 (2) 321-
Narayan, D., Patel, R., Schaffte, K., Rademacher, A. & Koch-Schulte, S. 2000. Voices of the poor: can anyone
hear us? Oxford: Oxford University Press.
National Bureau of Statistics. 2016. Child poverty in Tanzania. Dar es Salaam: NBS.
Nkansah. L. A. & Chibwanda, V. 2016. Interdisciplinary approach to legal scholarship: A blend from the
qualitative paradigm. Asian Journal of Legal Education.3 (1) 55-71.
Pogge, T. 2003. UNESCO Poverty Project: ethical and human rights dimensions of poverty: towards a new
paradigm in the fight against poverty [Philosophy seminar, All Soul’s College]. Oxford: The College.
Ritcher. L., Dawes, A. & Higson-Smith, C. Eds. 2004. Sexual abuse of young children in southern Africa. Cape
Town: HSRC Press.
Roser, M. & Ortiz-Ospina, E. 2017. Global extreme poverty. Retrieved from
https://ourworldindata.org/extreme-poverty [2019, June 10].
Shafe, S. & Hutchinson, G. 2014. Child sexual abuse and continuous influence of cultural practices: a review.
Indian Med J. 63 (6), 634-637.
Taekema,S. & Van der Burg, W. 2015. The incorporation problem in interdisciplinary legal research. Erasmus
Law Review (2), 39-42.
Tanzania. 2010. National Strategy for Growth and Poverty Reduction (NSGRP II). Available:
http://www.tzonline.org/pdf/mkukutalldraft.pdf [2019, May 16 ].
Tanzania. 2011. Violence against children in Tanzania: findings from a National Survey 2009. Dar es Salaam:
Tanzanian Development Vision 2025. Retrieved from
http://www.tzonline.org/pdf/theTanzaniadevelopmentvision.pdf [2019, May 16].
Proceeding of the World Conference on Child and Youth, Vol. 1, 2019, pp. 1-11
UNICEF. Tanzania. 2016. Report on the study of drivers of violence against children and positive change in
Mainland Tanzania and Zanzibar. [Not yet in the public domain].
United Nations. General Assembly. 2006. Report of the Independent Expert for [the] UN Study on Violence
against Children, UN Resolution A/61/299. New York: UN.
United States of America. Department of State. 2018. Trafficking in persons report. Washington DC: The
Ventura, L., 2019. Poorest countries in the world 2019. Global Finance, 17 April.
Yussuph, I., 2016. Tanzania: villagers hail TASAF poverty-reduction policy. Tanzania Daily News, 27 January.
Wangamati, C et al., Sexualized violence against children: A review of laws and policies in Kenya. Sexual and
Reproductive Health Matters 27 (1), 1-13.
World Bank. 2013. Tanzania mainland poverty assessment. Washington DC: The World Bank.
World Bank, 2019a. Poverty. The World Bank. Retrieved from
https://www.worldbank.org/en/topic/poverty/overview [2019,June 11].
World Bank , 2019b. The World Bank in Tanzania. Dar es Salaam: The World Bank. Retrieved from
https://www.worldbank.org/en/country/tanzania/overview [2019, June 30].
World Health Organisation. 2003. Guidelines for medico-legal care for victims of sexual violence. Geneva: