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Concern over rising child-abuse in Kericho

Kericho County Director of Children has decried rising cases of child abuse being reported on a daily basis at the Children’s Department office since the closure of schools for holidays.

Speaking to KNA the Kericho County Assistant Director of Children’s Services Ms Jane Rono urged parents to be tolerant of their children and offer guidance and counselling to them during the holiday season instead of meting out their anger on them.

She observed that majority of cases reported to her office were children rescued from terror dispensed on them by their parents due to minor issues that could be resolved amicably at home.

“Just recently, a man suspected of maiming his two children was brought to my office together with the children who were bleeding and in lots of pain. To my surprise, I learn the only mistake the children had done was to spoil their dad’s radio set,” said Ms Rono

Rono also urged other relevant authorities like the police to remain alert and take action against such perpetrators of child abuse.

“The worst thing about these abuses is that the closest family members are on the forefront in executing the abuses against young children between the ages 5 and 15, especially in Sosiot and Sondu areas within Kericho County,” said Rono.

She termed the situation perturbing and unfortunate adding that parents should be the protectors of their children and not the abusers.

At the same time, the County Assistant Director of Children’s Services has also expressed her concern over the rising number of handicapped children left on the streets to beg by their caretakers.

She regretted that growing number of disabled child beggars has now become a norm rather than an exception in most parts of Kericho town with their families dumping them in the streets in the morning to beg from strangers all day, and fetch them at dusk exposing the children to hostile weather, abuse from strangers and even the danger of abduction.

“At times when it rains the children are still left on the streets to be rained on. And they go without food in most cases,” Rono said.

Rono asked the Kericho County government to step up efforts to rescue the begging children from the streets and repatriate them to their respective homes noting that a majority of them could be foreigners from neighbouring Tanzania.

The Children’s Act stipulates in sections 6, 7, 8 and 9 the rights of children, which include the right to parental care, education, religious education and healthcare. Section 10 of the Act states that “every child shall be protected from economic exploitation” and from “any work that is likely to be hazardous.”

According to the constitution, this protection extends to all forms of work likely to “interfere with the child’s education”, work that is “harmful to the child’s health or physical, mental, spiritual, moral or social development,” she pointed out.

By Kibe Mburu

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