Intersections of VAW and VAC: Expert Perspectives On Service Coordination in Kampala, Uganda
This report provides findings of a qualitative study that focused on the perspectives of service providers in Kampala, Uganda on the linkages between intimate partner violence (IPV) and violence against children (VAC), covering: perceptions about the linkages between IPV and VAC; perceived intersecting causes and consequences of these two forms of violence; the current service providers’ ability to address these interlinkages; and the barriers and opportunities for collaboration.
This study identified four themes of intersection between IPV and VAC expressed by service providers:
- Child neglect, occurring as a result of the breakdown of family functioning due to IPV, increases the likelihood of VAC within and outside the home;
- Children witnessing IPV leads to greater likelihood of experiencing or perpetrating IPV as an adult;
- Children being beaten for attempting to stop violence between their parents;
- Mothers beating children because they cannot retaliate against their violent partners.
Overall, the findings highlighted the underlying gender and social norms that contribute to both IPV and VAC—including negative masculinities, with links to financial and decision-making dominance and negative parenting models, that contribute to violence in the home.
Key Recommendations to Improve Service Delivery for IPV and VAC Prevention
(1) Addressing harmful gender and social norms:
Experts identified that addressing norms provides the opportunity for violence prevention programmes to multiply their efforts to reduce both IPV and VAC, and ensure sustainability of prevention. It was recommended that the social norms interventions are improved to sustain over long periods of time, they are intersectional and evidence-based, and that they not only change existing attitudes but also create new, positive attitudes and beliefs.
(2) Increasing awareness and social censure of sexual IPV and physical VAC:
This study found that sexual IPV and harsh physical discipline of children continue to go unaddressed, and sometimes considered acceptable by some individuals, including service providers. Therefore, there is a need to create awareness and sensitise service providers regarding sexual IPV and physical VAC. Also, IPV and VAC service providers need to be provided awareness about the imbalances of gender and power that are root causes of violence. These efforts may be embedded within the ongoing violence prevention work.
(3) Improving linkages between services for survivors of IPV and VAC:
Two models of linking services were identified by respondents—creating internal linkages by broadening an individual organisation’s mandate and creating external linkages between organisations working on the different types of violence. The success of linkages may depend on whether the organisations are focused on response or prevention, that there have adequate resources and capacity, and that the referral networks are trusted and vetted.
- Mara Steinhaus
- Maureen Nakirunda
- Kristina Vlahovicova
- Ruti Levtov
- Deborah Nakisuyi
- Cleopatra Mugyenyi