Act against rising sexual offences against children

The Sexual Offences Act has had a major impact since it was introduced in 2006. It brought stiffer penalties for miscreants and raised awareness on a growing major problem, that of defilement of minors.

Since the law was enacted there appears to have been an increase in the number of cases reported, raising concern among child rights activists.

The bizarre nature of some of the acts has prompted many to ask whether the law is effective in deterring such dastardly and inhuman acts on minors as young a year-old.

The increase can be attributed to the fact that more Kenyans are aware of their rights since the Sexual Offences Act and the new Constitution came into operation.

In addition, reforms in the Judiciary have increased confidence in the courts of law, therefore more Kenyans are willing to put their trust in the courts to deliver justice. This also means that there are many more cases that go unreported due to fear of being ostracised by the community, ignorance of the law or intervention by family or the community.


Strangely enough, the number of rape cases has dropped slightly. The question is whether sexual predators, in the face of more awareness among the adult population, have opted to switch to softer targets like minors, with tragic consequences. What is not in doubt is that in the absence of proper police reforms, the National Police Service remains the biggest stumbling block in the fight against rape and defilement.

There are still too many officers who treat rape victims and guardians and parents of minors who have been defiled with a casual attitude that borders on the criminal.

Police must treat sexual offences with the same degree of seriousness they apply to other crimes. Many cases have collapsed and know predators have remained free for lack of proper police investigation only to visit their foul acts on more unsuspecting Kenyans.

The Government also needs invest in more campaigns outside the major urban centres to increase public awareness on the laws against rape and defilement.

Legislation is only as good as its enforcement and the Sexual Offences Act is in danger of becoming a paper tiger.