Podcast: Rigour & Vigour: Strengthening evidence on violence against children

UNICEF Office of Research-Innocenti
Prachi Pundir
Ashrita Saran
Howard White
Ramya Subrahmanian
Jill Adona
UNICEF Office of Research-Innocenti
Publication Year:
  • SDG 5 - Gender Equality
  • SDG 16 - Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions

The report is based on an ‘Evidence and Gap Map’ (EGM) which graphically represents what we know, and what we don’t know, about violence against children via a matrix of strong, weak, or no evidence. The EGM maps 152 impact evaluations and systematic reviews according to seven globally recognised INSPIRE strategies to end VAC.




More than half of the children in the world experience some form of interpersonal violence every year. As compared with high‐income countries, policy responses in low‐ and middle‐income countries (LMICs) are limited due to resource constraints and paucity of evidence for effective interventions to reduce violence against children in their own contexts, amongst other factors.


The aim of this evidence and gap map (EGM) is to provide an overview of the existing evidence available and to identify gaps in the evidence base on the effectiveness of interventions to reduce violence against children in LMICs. This report covers evidence published in English; a follow‐up study is under preparation focusing on evidence in five additional languages—Arabic, Chinese, French, Portuguese and Spanish.


The intervention‐outcome framework for this EGM is based on INSPIRE—Seven Strategies for Ending Violence against Children, published by WHO and other partners in 2016. The seven strategies include implementation and enforcement of laws; norms and values, safe environment; parent–child and caregiver support; income and economic strengthening; response and support services; education and life skills. The search included both academic and grey literature available online. We included impact evaluations and systematic reviews that assessed the effectiveness of interventions to reduce interpersonal violence against children (0–18 years) in LMICs (World Bank, 2018b). Interventions targeting subpopulation of parents, teachers and caregivers of 0–18 years’ age group were also included. A critical appraisal of all included studies was carried out using standardised tools.


The map includes 152 studies published in English of which 55 are systematic reviews and 97 are impact evaluations. Most studies in the map are from Sub‐Saharan Africa. Education and life skills are the most widely populated intervention area of the map followed by income and economic strengthening interventions. Very few studies measure impact on economic and social outcomes, and few conduct cost‐analysis.


More studies focusing on low‐income and fragile and conflict‐affected settings (FCS) and studying and reporting on cost‐analysis are required to address gaps in the evidence. Most interventions covered in the literature focused on addressing a wide range of forms of violence and harm, which limited understanding of how and for whom the interventions work in a given context, for specific forms of violence. More impact evaluation studies are required that assess specific forms of violence, gendered effects of interventions and on diverse social groups in a given context, utilising mixed methods.


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