If we ask, will they tell? (and then, what?): Screening for sexual violence against children in Kenya

Document Type

Article (peer-reviewed)

Publication Date



This study assesses the feasibility of using a screening tool to proactively identify child survivors of sexual violence in Kenyan primary school and health facility settings, and to refer such survivors to care. A mixed-methods design was employed, involving quantitative screening tool data, as well as service data from 497 girls and boys in two primary schools (in standards six to eight) and one hospital site (11–17-year-olds) and qualitative data (in the form of field notes) generated during the screening process. Results point to the feasibility of this screening intervention, as evidenced by the proportion of children in the school and health facility sites combined: 97 per cent were willing to be screened for sexual violence, 45 per cent disclosed lifetime sexual violence and 75 per cent received care subsequent to disclosing lifetime experiences of sexual violence. Further, the qualitative results ‘give voice’ to child survivors and their parents, demonstrating the acceptability of, and demand for, the intervention among these populations. Findings from this study suggest that screening for sexual violence against children is feasible in both school and health facility settings. Such screening also holds potential for expanding child survivors' access to care.