A gender-based violence rescue and recovery centre has been launched by the Kwale County government officials led by Deputy Governor (DG) Fatuma Achani on Tuesday.
The new one-stop recovery centre is situated at the Kwale County Referral Hospital and will be providing 24-hour care to survivors of sexual and gender based violence.
Achani said the facility will be able to prevent gender-based violence which commonly occurs in the family and provide healing for the victims at a much more rapid pace.
The new facility is hoped to be a game-changer in efforts to fight against gender-based violence in the coastal county.
Achani said the centre will offer high standards of the health sector services and make it an excellent one-stop unit where victims can look for help and bring back meaning to the lives of survivors.
The DG decried that reporting of sexual and gender-based offenses at the community level was still low and underscored the need to create awareness of gender based violence.
She also decried early marriages which she said is a form of gender-based violence as it robs girls of their right to childhood, health, education and security.
She called for sustained sensitization and awareness creation campaigns in order o realize the dream of a violent free society.
She said the low levels of reporting could be attributed to the stigma associated with e violence of a sexual nature and also cultural norms and attitudes that tolerate and legitimize sexual violence.
Achani said the scourge was rampant in rural and remote communities and urged residents to challenge and reject all forms of gender-based violence.
She said girls are most at risk of gender-based violence especially sexual violence adding that in the last three months alone 50 cases of gender-based violence was reported in the county.
Achani called on the political leadership, religious leaders, civil society organizations and the media to fight the social vice.
Gender Violence Recovery Centre (GVRC) Executive Director Alberta Wambua who attended the brief launching ceremony urged residents to make use of the centre and report incidences of violence.
The DG said the centre will also encourage male victims to seek GBV support and asked men to stop hiding.
Ms. Wambua said violence against women and girls spiked during the Covid-19 pandemic adding that communities are beginning to open about the problem.
She said 3600 cases were handled by GVRC since the outbreak of Covid-19 in March with 400 of the cases being violence against men.
She said gender-based violence is a violation of human rights and that tackling it is crucial for poverty reduction and economic development.
By Hussein Abdullahi