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Children’s officer calls for concerted effort to ensure the safety and wellbeing of children.

The Igembe South Children’s Officer Vincent Kaunda has called upon parents, religious leaders, schools and governments to collaborate and work together to end violence against children and ensure safety and wellbeing of the children in the community.

Speaking today during the launch of Children Justice Service Month at Maua law court ground, the Children’s officer promised to work closely with the local authorities including chiefs and Nyumba Kumi people to identify the grassroots abuse and exploitation of children especially during this long holiday.

“We are committed to ensure children are not subjected to any form of abuse including child labor, defilement, female genital mutilation (FGM) and early marriages,” Kaunda said.

Kaunda warned that cases of incest are becoming rampant in the area while many go unreported adding that the family members cover up such cases and fail to report due to stigma.

“The perpetrators of such vices should be reported to the authority immediately for prosecution whether they are uncles, cousins or even biological fathers,’’ He advised.

He further noted that for a breakthrough in protecting and upholding children’s rights to be realised, there should be collective responsibility from all stakeholders and each should play their part appropriately.

Speaking during the same event, the Maua Law Court magistrate Caroline Obara said the Children’s Justice Service month marks a dedicated effort to prioritize the rights and wellbeing of the children in the region.

She noted that the court is committed to creating awareness among members of the public on children’s rights which extend to basic education, access to healthcare services, and the provision of their basic needs.

Obara stressed the need for parental care and guidance, adding that many parents have delegated their roles to house helps and grandparents, hence the high level of indiscipline and immorality among children.

The magistrate emphasized the need for parents to invest in the education of their children, especially the boy child noting that majority of miraa harvesters in the region are school age boys.

“For us to reduce crime rates, early marriages, teenage pregnancies, and illiteracy levels, parents should give education the first priority,’’ Obara pointed out.

She advised parents from vulnerable backgrounds to take advantage of government programs such as Elimu Scholarship and the Presidential Secondary School bursary scheme that sponsors needy children to ensure their children get education.

Obara further reiterated the penalty for defilement as per the sexual offences act noting that a person who commits defilement with a child aged 11 years or less shall be sentenced to life imprisonment upon conviction, while the person who defiles a child  between the age of 12-15 years is liable upon conviction to imprisonment for a term not less than 20 years while the one who commits defilement with a child between age of 16-18 is liable to imprisonment for a term not less than 15 years upon conviction.

By Kamanja Maeria and Jackline Mukami



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