Equality Now Campaigns Officer–Africa Ms Florence Machio has urged the judiciary to set a time frame which Gender Based Violence (GBV) cases are attended to in the country.
Consequently, Ms Machio called for establishment of special courts to deal with GBV cases so that the victims can get justice while saying a GBV unit should be formed specifically to investigate sexual offence cases.
She said that many victims of defilement, rape and battering of women usually take long to get justice in courts saying this is unacceptable in this era.
“In the society election offences have a time frame that the cases take. We have seen GBV cases take long and we are asking, is it possible for the sexual offences cases to have time frame?” she posed while speaking in a GBV sensitization forum for media practitioners on Friday at a Hotel in Wote town.
At the same time, she called for special magistrates to deal with such sexual offence cases to avoid the cases dragging for six years in courts as being witnessed currently in the country.
Machio further said that cases of gender based violence should not be bailable while saying there are gaps in collection of evidence which is key in sustaining cases in courts of law.
While asking the government to put more money in GBV, she noted that once the suspects are left loose, they interfere with evidence and as a result the victim ends up losing the case in court.
“As a country if we have not invested in forensic evidence gathering then we shall get problems for the survivors of GBV to get justice. There are gaps in collecting evidence. We need a GBV unit that will deal with sexual offences and this can only be possible if money is set aside for this purpose,” she said.
During the sensitization, the officer called upon the media to do thorough investigation, especially when highlighting GBV cases in order to educate the members of the public on such vices.
“The media should report objectively and stop ‘victimizing’ victims of GBV. Verify information before reporting and avoid prejudices,” said Machio.
The Makueni County Deputy Governor Adelina Mwau advised women not to stay in abusive marriages while saying there is life outside marriage.
However, Ms Mwau lauded the Kilungu magistrate court for the prompt attention to defilement and rape cases that usually result to convictions as witnessed two days ago.
“I have seen the Magistrate in Kilungu dealing with defilement and rape cases in two weeks that led to two men jailed for 20 years each. What is happening in Tawa, Makueni and Makindu courts?” she asked.
The sensitization of the media was organized by the Department of Gender, Children, Culture and Social Services of the county government of Makueni.
The Gender Executive Committee Member Ms Mary Maundu was present.
By Patrick Nyakundi