Statement of purpose The purpose of this study was to estimate the association between household socio- economic status (SES) and sexual violence among children in Malawi.
Methods/Approach The Violence Against Children (VACS) was a national cross-sectional household survey among males and females aged 13- 24 in Malawi. The analysis sample was restricted to age group 13 - 17 (n = 1,057). The exposure was household SES. A SES score was constructed by using asset data and applying principal component analysis. The SES score was categorized into tertiles based on the distribution of the score (high, medium, low). The outcome was sexual violence in the past 12 months. Sexual violence included sexual touching, attempted sex, physically forced sex, and pressured sex. A logistic regression model was used to determine prevalence odds ratio (POR) and 95% confidence interval (CI) for the association between SES and sexual violence. Confounders in the final adjusted model included age, sex, marital status, orphan status, and gender inequity norms.
Results The odds of sexual violence among children in high SES households is 1.24 times the odds of sexual violence among children in low SES households (POR: 1.24, 95% CI: 0.84, 1.85). The odds of sexual violence among children in medium SES households is 1.19 times the odds of sexual violence among children in low SES households (POR 1.19, 95% CI: 0.78, 1.80). High and medium SES were associated with higher odds of sexual violence among children aged 13- 17 in Malawi.
Conclusion This study contributes to the growing body of research evaluating the association between SES and childhood violence in Africa. More research is needed to understand the cultural and geographical context of childhood violence in the region and in Malawi.
Significance The findings of this study highlight the need for targeted interventions towards high and medium SES households to prevent violence against children in Malawi.
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