Nakuru County Government has begun the process of establishing Gender-Based Violence (GBV) rescue centres in all the 11 constituencies to provide integrated care and offer counselling services to victims of GBV.
Speaking during a ground breaking ceremony of the Sh35 million GBV rescue center at Gilgil, County Acting Director in charge of Gender, Culture and Youth Affairs Ms. Selina Nkatha said there was an increase in cases, especially due to the post Covid-19 economic meltdowns.
The facility which will be constructed in three phases with the first one costing Sh15 million is designed to host men, women and persons living with disabilities who are survivors of gender based violence.
“Our statistics indicate that the number of men who have been assaulted or experienced violence in the past two years has significantly gone up, though their number, compared to women, is lower.
Wife battering, defilement, rape, early marriages and pregnancies were some of the forms of violence meted on women and children in the 11 constituencies,” the Acting Director noted.
Nkatha indicated that various factors including breakdown of the social fabric had disrupted the social order exposing Kenyans to various forms of violence ranging from physical and emotional abuse, child labour, transactional sex and child marriage.
“The rescue center is intended to provide integrated care and strengthen service delivery for Sexual and Gender-Based Violence survivors. The facility will not only be used as a safe house but also as a place where the survivors learn new skills for income generation.
Financial woes occasioned by collapse of businesses and job cuts have exerted a mental pressure on household providers, increasing tension and family feuds,” the Acting Director pointed out.
Nkatha indicated that a significant proportion of GBV victims are women and that most of the cases were perpetrated at night when they had nowhere to run to.
“Our ultimate goal is to have the rescue centres in all the 11 sub-counties where victims can seek refuge for rest for the night as they plan on retributive steps, get psycho-social support and counselling to be able cope with their condition,” she noted.
Nkatha lamented that in some parts of the county parents were marrying off their daughters at a tender age, with school going girls being the most vulnerable to teenage pregnancy.
She urged community based organizations and humanitarian agencies to supplement the county government’s efforts by setting up private rescue centres, especially in rural areas prone to such kind of violence.
The Acting Director observed that most victims are forced to wait in police cells whenever they report such cases while others stay with female police officers due to lack of rescue centres.
“Police officers may be willing to help, but we all know that they have limited accommodation. It is up to us to identify partners and put up such facilities wherever possible,” she added.
By Anne Mwale and Agnes Kerubo