Bomet County Commissioner Geoffrey Omoding’ has decried prevalence of child abuse incidents which he blamed on rampant alcoholism and substance abuse in the County.
Omoding’ said statistics show that most perpetrators of violence against children and other forms of child abuse usually indulge in mood altering substances.
He said culprits prosecuted in court have often indicated that they were intoxicated when they committed crimes ranging from rape, defilement, violence and child neglect among others.
“The rate of alcoholism here in Bomet is very high. That’s why the Government is relentlessly fighting against illegal sale of second generation alcohol and peddling of illegal drugs,” he said.
“If we rid this County of these vices, we will have made substantial strides not only in curbing crimes against children but also ensure development supported by a sober society,” he added.
The administrator said the Constitution strongly protects the rights of all children and added that departments including the Children’s department, the police, the church, schools, hospitals as well as the media among others are major players in ensuring children grow up in an environment conducive for their healthy development.
He said courts have demonstrated ability to deter such crimes not just by punishing offenders through lengthy sentences but also levying hefty fines on unregulated alcohol sellers.
Though he lauded the police for arresting criminals accused of infringing on children’s rights, he at the same time chided wayward police officers who have soiled the department’s reputation saying they were sometimes compromised.
He cited a case in particular where a police officer in Mulot area ordered a rape victim to take a bath deliberately to destroy evidence after receiving a bribe from the suspect.
At the same time, the administrator praised the media for highlighting cases of child abuse and cited an incident where a police officer who was accused of seducing a high school student was transferred to frustrate the case but added the culprit has since been successfully brought to book following wide media coverage.
Meanwhile, Omoding’ said chiefs have been trained on the process of case management which has helped lower the magnitude of the crisis.
He urged medical personnel to take defilement and rape cases seriously and also called on the society to avoid ‘kangaroo-court’ negotiations.
Omoding said the child rights are paramount and remarked that oftentimes guardians or parents selfishly benefit either in monetary terms or in kind while the children who are victims suffer trauma that haunts them for the rest of their lives.
He further cautioned adults entrusted with child custody to report all cases touching on crimes against children lest they are treated as accomplices which he said is a crime punishable in law.
By Kipngeno Korir