Parents, neighbours top list of perpetrators of child abuses – report

Nairobi County led in the number of child abuses of various nature with Mombasa, Kisumu, Nakuru and Kakamega featuring prominently.

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The ChildLine Kenya’s Tuesday report indicates that child neglect, sexual abuse and physical abuse incidences totaling to 13,878, 7,832 and 7,317 of the 33,929 cases reported between 2006 and 2016, accounted for the lion’s share of abuses against minors.

Child labour on the other side, stood at a whopping 3,123 cases, emotional abuse had 1,025 and child trafficking and abduction rose to 528 cases.

According to records, immediate family members, neighbours and unspecified guardians are among key perpetrators of child abuses which were more rampant in the years 2012 (6,974), 2008 (5,490) and 2011 (4,853).

“People are waiting for too long because we only have about 24 counsellors on a daily basis and therefore people are unable to wait for 10 to 15 minutes,” Childline Kenya Board Chairperson George Okado said.

Okado however said plans are underway to upgrade the capacity of the 116 helpline by ensuring more centres are opened up in counties to enhance the reporting of cases of child abuse.

“We started off with an expectation of a certain number of children but now when they exceed the maximum, the telephone system cannot handle it and so we are constantly challenged to increase the number of counsellors and improve the telecommunication system,” he said.

“We’ve set up a call centre in Eldoret but we are hoping to have call centres in all the counties so that if a child is abused in Mandera for instance, there are people who can attend to him/her at that level,” he added.

According to the report, there were 6,084,461 attempts to reach 116 countrywide with only 2,901,856 successfully received by the available counsellors.

A total of 3,182,605 calls of over the six million calls made were however dropped due to inadequate capacity within the call centre.

Cases of prank and silence on the other side of the line were also high and could have hampered the ability of victims to report. There were 2,868,005 calls classified as such.

According to the statistics, biological fathers and mothers contributed to a half of the number of FGM cases reported at 17 and 33 per cent respectively.

Unspecified parents mostly believed to be guardians and grandparents contributed to up to 50 per cent of FGM incidences.

Apart from child abuse cases, the 116 helpline also responds to other concerns affecting children which numbered to 37,036 between 2014-2016.

888,209 calls made during this period were prank calls, blank/silent, calls with insufficient information or unrelated to the helpline.

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