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There are over two million displaced children worldwide living in established refugee camps. Many of these children have escaped violent conflict in their country, but still are victims of violence within settlement camps. Little is known about the social norms around violence in these camps particularly in regards to reporting. We study this issue using a sample of over 300 child parent pairs in Nyarugusu camp in Tanzania. The camp consists of over 130,000 refugees mainly from Burundi and the Democratic Republic of Congo. We find that parents have limited acceptance of physical violence and essentially no acceptance of sexual violence against children. Parents are slightly more likely to report physical violence against their sons. Parents seem equal likely to report sexual abuse at school for boys and girls. We also use vignettes of hypothetical violent situations against children to measure social norms of parents and children’s perceptions of when children will report violence. Characteristics of the situations are randomized. We find a strong relationship between parental and children’s beliefs of when the hypothetical victim would report violence. We show that for both parents and children there is a belief adolescent victims will report violence in school. These results suggest that parental attitudes may influence children and that schools may be a good place for new interventions.


International Rescue Committee, Towson University College of Business



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