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Police undergo training on gender-based cyber violence

29 April 2016, 09:23

Nairobi - African Development Bank (AfDB) said Thursday it has kicked off a four-day training for Kenya's law enforcers on gender-based cyber violence amid rising incidences of violence against women.

AfDB said some 55 high ranking police officers from the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (CID) and public prosecutors from across the country are undergoing the training, which seeks to stem cybercrime in the face of rising incidences of gender-based online violence in Kenya.

"The exercise is the first phase of a larger approach to empower more police officials and prosecutors across the country and the East African region to effectively handle cybercrime, as well as assess cyber violence trends," the Bank said in a statement issued in Nairobi.

The use of technology and social media is a great part of the course, boosting knowledge and awareness on how law enforcement agents can act against perpetrators of cyber-based gender violence.

In Kenya, where 80 percent of the population has access to mobile phones and the internet growth currently stands at 64 percent, authorities say there is harm to women and girls.

Read Also: Nubian community allege discrimination

Most women and girls often fall victim to online threats, which affects all levels of society, from students, senior government officials, politicians and entertainment personalities, analysts said.

AfDB officials say the anonymity that the internet offers has seen the propagation of a number of negative stereotypes that risk normalizing societal prejudices.

The impact is psychological, mental and even financial, as it transforms the potential ICT has for empowerment into a weapon.

AfDB said the training is expected to empower police and judiciary to capture cyber criminals as well as prevent cybercrime.

According to AfDB, online baseline survey violence against women and girls is rampant in Kenya as in many parts of Africa.

The statistics indicate that one in three women will have experienced a form of violence in her lifetime.

However it is not adequately addressed due to a glaring skills gap that demonstrates the ill-preparedness of the police to handle cases of technology-based violence.

The 2014 Kenya Demographic Health Survey (KDHS) shows that 41 percent of women aged between 15-49 years have experienced violence.

While cyber violence was not captured as a form of violence under the indicators of the KDHS, the crime, if not taken into account, could significantly increase this staggering number, according to a report by the UN.

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- Xinhua

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