Lack of adequate state protection despite increased sexual abuses cases among children
By AUDREY MASITSA | 2 months ago
Since the outbreak of Covid-19, there have been at least 63 new cases of sexual abuse among children every month. This is according to Martha Sunda, director of Childline Kenya.
Of the children who fall victim to sexual predators, very few come forward to report what happened to them. A study carried out by the Ministry of Labour and Social Protection revealed that 12 out of 100 victims of sexual abuse reported the incidents.
In a report by The Standard, it emerged that despite the increasing number of sexual abuse cases among children, very little is being done to prosecute offenders and help victims to heal.
“We keep getting statistics of rising cases. Children being abused by people known to them and not much is done,” says child rights activist Mwanaisha Ali.
Some victims have revealed that simply reporting the incidences to the police was an arduous task, worse than the act of violence.
“The wait at the police station was the worst,” said Pauline who was abused at the age of 15 on her way from school. “One police officer came and requested that I follow her. I felt like a criminal. She asked so many questions, accusing me of not helping them.
“When we went back home, I remember crying, not so much about being abused, but the treatment I had got after.”
Hers is not an isolated case. According to the State Department for Social Protection, they are aware of this mistreatment of victims at police stations nevertheless steps are being taken to put an end to this.
Principal Secretary of Social Protection Nelson Marwa explained that children officers at the county and sub-county levels have been asked to train the police officers who man the gender desk with the help of a child protection workforce curriculum.
Even so, most of the social workers who work on these cases are volunteers and donors. Ali pointed out that there has been no provision made to get well-trained child protection workers on the part of the government.
Implementation of the laws and policies meant to protect children is poor. Follow up on victims of abuse is close to non-existent and social workers rely on victims coming to them. Many cases that have gone to court yield no results as abusers pass through loopholes in the justice system and are set free.
“The case was ongoing yet the man was set free. We resorted to locking the child at home,” said the mother to 10-year-old girl who was abused and her reproductive organs damaged.
Other cases take so long, requiring the abused to travel to the courthouse so frequently that many give up.
However, the ministry has announced the implementation of the National Prevention and Response Plan to End Violence Against Children 2019-2023.
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