The number of sexual and Gender Based Violence (GBV) cases in Makueni County has declined drastically since the onset of Covid-19.
Area Deputy governor (DG), Adelina Mwau said the county recorded a monthly average of 22 cases of GBV since January, compared to 40 similar incidents reported last year in the same period.
The DG attributed the decrease despite the country recording soaring numbers of GBV cases to lack of reporting of such occurrences due to the government directives on Covid-19 especially the curfew.
“Most of the gender based violence happen at night and because of the curfew that has limited movement, most victims are not able to report the cases to relevant authorities for necessary action,” said Mwau while addressing the media at Makueni County Referral Hospital on Wednesday, as she unveiled a GBV recovery centre.
However, she noted that the county government was aware of escalation of GBV cases during the pandemic period, adding that the devolved unit will put in place adequate mechanism right from the grassroots level to ensure such cases do not go unreported.
“We are going to collaborate with community health workers and the local administration to stem the rising number of GBV cases in the area during the pandemic period,” said Mwau.
The DG further noted that loss of livelihoods due to coronavirus and containment measures put in place by the government to control potential the spread of the pandemic had contributed to the rise in domestic conflicts.
She underscored the need to protect girls and women whom she noted were at more risk of being abused by men.
Mwau also decried the rising cases of sexual abuse against young girls and boys, urging parents to take care of their children during this long vacation after schools were closed indefinitely due to covid-19.
“We have witnessed a worrying trend of increased teenage pregnancies. This morning five cases were reported. Young boys were also being sodomised,” lamented the deputy governor.
She revealed that the 18 bed capacity recovery centre will provide a safe haven for victims of GBV and will offer both medical and psycho-social support services.
“Because women bear the brunt for GBV, we have set aside a 12 beds for them and six for men in the recovery centre. Survivors will for stay a maximum of 14 days to receive medical care and counselling services,” said Mwau.
By Patrick Nyakundi/Roselyne Kavoo