More than half of Namibians believe parents are justified in using physical force to discipline their children, at least on some occasions, a recent Afrobarometer survey indicates. Four in 10 say the practice is never justified.
Views are similarly divided into other aspects of child well-being, with four in 10 citizens reporting that child abuse and neglect are widespread in their communities and half saying school-age children are frequently not attending school.
But a majority of Namibians are confident that people in their communities can secure help for abused, mistreated, or neglected children.
And they say that help and support are also available for children with physical disabilities and for adults and children with mental health problems.
- More than half of Namibians (57%) believe that it is either “always justified” (23%) or “sometimes justified” (34%) for parents to discipline their children using physical force. Four in 10 (41%) consider it “never justified” (Figure 1).
o The view that using physical force to discipline children is justified is slightly more common in cities than in rural areas (59% vs. 55%).
- Almost half (47%) of citizens say physical disciplining of children is “very frequent” (19%) or “somewhat frequent” (28%) in their communities (Figure 2).
o Urbanites are significantly more likely than rural residents to report that adults frequently use physical force to discipline their children (52% vs. 39%).
- More than four in 10 Namibians (42%) report that child abuse and neglect occur “very frequently” (15%) or “somewhat frequently” (27%) in their communities (Figure 3).
o Even more (49%) say that school-age children are often not in school.
o More urbanites than rural residents see both child abuse/neglect (47% vs. 37%) and out-of-school children (52% vs. 45%) as frequent occurrences (Figure 4).
- Slim majorities say that help and support are available in their communities for children who are abused or neglected (55%), children with physical disabilities (56%), and children and adults with mental or emotional problems (53%) (Figure 5).
o Residents in urban areas report better access to support services than their rural counterparts for children with physical disabilities (62% vs. 51%) and for children and adults with mental or emotional problems (56% vs. 51%) (Figure 6).
Afrobarometer is a pan-African, non-partisan survey research network that provides reliable data on African experiences and evaluations of democracy, governance, and quality of life. Eight survey rounds in up to 39 countries have been completed since 1999. Round 9 surveys (2021/2022) are currently underway. Afrobarometer’s national partners conduct face-to-face interviews in the language of the respondent’s choice.
The Afrobarometer team in Namibia, led by national partner Survey Warehouse, interviewed a nationally representative sample of 1,200 adult Namibians in October and November 2021. A sample of this size yields country-level results with a margin of error of +/-3 percentage points at a 95% confidence level. Previous surveys were conducted in Namibia in 1999, 2003, 2006, 2008, 2012, 2014, 2017, and 2019.