Why child neglect is on the rise in Siaya

The number of neglected children is on the rise in Siaya County, according to latest reports.

Child overview protection statistics released by the county government on Wednesday also show a sharp rise in child abuse in the first quarter of 2018 /2019.

In the overview statistics released by the county's children's affairs coordinator Jenim Konyango, a total of 286 neglect cases were reported to their office.

This included 145 males and 141 females.

Another 198 children were recorded to have custody issues with 102 being boys and 96 being girls.

Defilement cases recorded the least numbers with 12 reported cases, followed closely by child labor cases with at 26.

The office recorded a total of 35 children suffering with emotional abuse while Child truancy, abduction and abandoned were 32, 17 and 81 respectively.

Approximately 825 children are living in the 19 Charitable Child institutions (CCI) within the county but out the 19 only 16 are registered.

According to the overview statistics some of the issues affecting children in the county are; child marriage which are either arranged or forced, sleeping spaces for children where girls sleep in the kitchen or have to borrow sleeping spaces, religious sects denying children medical services or immunization.

“Widow inheritance that lead to children being denied property, neglect by caregivers, discos, video shows and disco matangas, hiding children with disabilities, school dropout due to fees, gender discrimination and taboos liker children not allowed to discuss sexual matters are among the emerging issues affecting children in Siaya,” read the overview report.

According to the report, challenges like case management and referral guidelines development, compromise by gender based violence survivors’ families who protect offenders and trial delays have made it complicated for children to have justice.

Child protection centre

The children office now wants an operational child protection centre in Siaya and also a child friendly reporting service established.

Meanwhile the county government has established a free toll number to be used by adolescents in distress.

Dr Elizabeth Omondi who is in-charge of the county reproductive, maternal, newborn and adolescents in the county said that the free line is to be used by adolescents who have sexual and reproductive health issues and problems.

“They are free to call because it is a free hotline. It is the county in partnership with the World Bank funding it. We are not limiting to sexual and reproductive health issues, if they have other issues they are free to call,” said Dr Omondi.

She added that the motivation to have a toll line is due to the current teenage pregnancies rise that has seen the county record statistics of 12,503 teenage pregnancies between 2017 and 2018.

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Siaya CountyChild NeglectChildren Services