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Reporting child abuse

11 July 2014, 15:06 Evans Munga

Child abuse in Kenya has recorded a tremendous increase in the recent past.

Child Rights are enshrined in the Constitution of Kenya under Bill of Rights chapter four, article 53 in the Children Act of 2001, not forgetting that international laws on children (African charter on the rights and welfare of children) domesticated in our laws and United Nations child rights conventions UNCRC (1989)) that Kenya ratified in 1990.

All these legal instruments fundamentally protect the rights of children under four main categories namely Survival rights, Development rights, Protection rights and Participation rights.

When a child has been physically, sexually and emotionally abused, the child has a provision to report to the state, the primarily duty holder, to act in best interest of the child in a process that is aimed at restoring the rights of the child.

Child custody and maintenance are also areas that if not well administered might lead to violation of children rights.

Kenya runs a child hotline number, 116, that is managed by Childline Kenya and which is a toll free number meant to respond to cases of child abuse (child Rights Protection services) ranging from tell-counseling, child information hub and referral services.

The helpline offers a platform for support to abused children; they are guided on how to handle cases of abuse, counseled by professional counselors, referred to competent agencies like children Officers under the Department of children services, police services, children Court information and psychosocial services.

 When child abuse occurs, a child, guardian, parent, concerned adult or neighbour has a duty to report it to the child helpline number 116 to receive guidance on what to do.

However, many cases go unreported and therefore perpetrators of child abuse go scot free.

Depending on the nature of abuse, the child’s interest is paramount, and therefore all law enforcement agencies must act.

There are many cases of child labour, early/forced marriage, Female Genital Mutilation perpetuated by retrogressive cultural practices which are also considered as child abuse.

When a child’s rights are contravened or violated, it is considered an abuse; it is the duty of everybody to report abuse cases.

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