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BMC Public Health. 2014 Sep 29;14:1017. doi: 10.1186/1471-2458-14-1017.

Violence against primary school children with disabilities in Uganda: a cross-sectional study.

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London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, 15-17 Tavistock Place, London WC1H 9SH, UK.



150 million children live with disabilities globally, and a recent systematic review found 3 to 4 times the levels of violence versus non-disabled children in high income countries. However, almost nothing is known about violence against disabled children in lower income countries. We aim to explore the prevalence, patterns and risk factors for physical, sexual and emotional violence among disabled children attending primary school in Luwero District, Uganda.


We performed a secondary analysis of data from the baseline survey of the Good Schools Study. 3706 children and young adolescents aged 11-14 were randomly sampled from 42 primary schools. Descriptive statistics were computed and logistic regression models fitted.


8.8% of boys and 7.6% of girls reported a disability. Levels of violence against both disabled and non-disabled children were extremely high. Disabled girls report slightly more physical (99.1% vs 94.6%, p = 0.010) and considerably more sexual violence (23.6% vs 12.3%, p = 0.002) than non-disabled girls; for disabled and non-disabled boys, levels are not statistically different. The school environment is one of the main venues at which violence is occurring, but patterns differ by sex. Risk factors for violence are similar between disabled and non-disabled students.


In Uganda, disabled girls are at particular risk of violence, notably sexual violence. Schools may be a promising venue for intervention delivery. Further research on the epidemiology and prevention of violence against disabled and non-disabled children in low income countries is urgently needed.

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