It is the responsibility of Kenyans to stop all form of violence against children in the country, Senior Director of administration in the ministry of labour and social protection Ibrahim Maalim has said.
Maalim said the campaign to end violence against children in the country should not be left to the government alone.
Speaking at a Garissa hotel today when he opened a two days’ workshop that brought together Area Advisory Council (AAC) members to deliberate on a report compiled in 2019 on violence against children, Maalim said that incidences of children being abused are on the rise but very few cases are reported.
In North Eastern, cases revolving defilement of minors have been on the rise with Wajir County leading.
Other forms of violence common in the region are children being neglected or used to look after livestock and parents and guardians mistreating children placed under their custody. Retrogressive cultural practices among them FGM that stands at 89 percent and early child marriages are also prevalent in the region.
Maalim said that based on the report findings, the department came up with the national prevention and response plan with the theme ‘spot it stop it’ to try and address the vices. “Violence against children must stop. The government alone cannot stop it. We must deal with it as a community. That is the only way,” stressed Maalim.
He said the community must understand that violence against children attracts criminal charges like any other form of violence under the laws of Kenya noting that Maslaha (alternative form of dispute resolution) in Northern Kenya was an impediment to the war on violence against children.
On his part, the Garissa county children coordinator Mohamed Abdi said that any form of violence against children has far-reaching effects on their growth. Mohamed said majority of the cases reported in Garissa revolve around lack of care and protection.
The coordinator thanked partners including UNICEF and the county government of Garissa for the support they have extended to the department. He singled out the construction of a child protection unit put up at the Garissa police station for neglected children held temporarily.
“In the past we were faced with the challenges of where to place these children, especially those brought in because of criminal offences. It’s illegal to put these children under police cells,” he said.
By Jacob Songok