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Toll number to report child abuse unveiled

Government departments dealing with children matters have been urged to work as a multi-agency to enable them protect children facing various challenges of child abuse in society.

Nairobi County Commissioner, Flora Mworoa said the government is urging officers in the Department of Children, charged with the responsibility of ensuring that children rights are observed to work closely with the Ministries of Health, Social Services, Police, Education and Social Protection to save the many children who are undergoing suffering.

The County Commissioner said the multi-agency should come up with an agenda on how they will work to save the children who are in need of help.

“If we do not play our part, then we will not be able to save our children,” stressed Mworoa and told all heads of department to be committed to change the intervention to enable the children lead better lives.

The County Commissioner was speaking during the Case Management and Referral workshop for Nairobi County Departmental Heads themed ‘Joining Forces for Children on Against Violence Abuse’ at a Nairobi hotel.

She said as a mother, an administrator and a Kenyan, she has observed old people saying that the children are the future of this country, adding that if the children are not taken care of then there was no future for the country.

Mworoa said currently there is a group of imbalanced youth because of their upbringing, which she attributed to mistreatment of children by parents, relatives and the people they trust most, saying children facing challenges should be given emotional support.

“It is sad that some children are brought up in bad conditions which have even been made worse by the Covid-19 pandemic. We also have a problem of street children, others taking drugs, this has made most of them not fit in children’s homes,” said Mworoa.

She said the government was greatly concerned on the plight of its citizen and singled out the social protection stipend it has been giving the vulnerable people and the Kazi Mtaani programme that saw at least 55,000 youth earn cash to feed their families.

Speaking at the event, former Director of Children Services, Mr. Ahmed Hussein attributed lack of professional skills and involvement in illegal activities amongst the youth to child abuse which has resulted to school dropouts and early pregnancies.

He said the children sector must work together with other stakeholders, as it is the only way they can help the children achieve the best protection.

“Caregivers should always ensure that there is regular communication with the child and involve them when planning so as to determine what is best for the child’s interest,” said Hussein and added that whenever people fail to do the right things for the children, they end up suffering.

He at the same time urged entities handling children’s cases to properly collect and store information as well stored data is vital in tracing and assisting the affected children.

Nairobi County Coordinator for Children Services, Patrick Isadia said it is the responsibility of every individual to ensure that children are safeguarded, as most of them who are abused physically and in social media, including the physically challenged do not have the knowledge that what was being done to them by people who are close to them amounted to abuse and not love.

“Each person becomes a lead agency in the intervention on issues of child violence, child protection as we are now seeing people as young as 10 years committing suicide,” said Isadia.

He said emerging issues such as mental health that has led to suicides need to be addressed besides health education so that those facing challenges can receive psycho-social help, and be saved through minimizing, mitigating and preventing the risks.

Members of the public have also been advised to report child abuse cases to free toll number 116 to rescue children who are suffering.

By Bernadette Khaduli

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