Report shows sexual violence against teenage girls still rife

Report shows sexual violence against teenage girls still rife

Sexual violence against girls aged between 13-18 years remains high in the country with 45,9 9% 0f girls experiencing childhood violence according to the 2019 violence against children survey.

The report has at the same time revealed disturbing statistics indicating that the boy child is falling increasingly under threat with some 56% of those who participated in the survey reporting some form of violence. 

Labor and Social Protection Cabinet Secretary Simon Chelugui says though violence against children has significantly reduced over the last decade, children continue to face one form of violence or another with associated economic costs proving unsustainable.

The containment measures instituted to curb the spread of COVID-19  and the subsequent closure of schools has led to the spike in abuses against children in the country. 

Though the 2019 violence against children (VAC) Survey report released on Thursday shows progress made since the first 2010 VAC Survey, including reduction in childhood physical violence for both female and male, it highlights concerning trends which indicate an increase in certain forms of physical and sexual violence among adolescent girls aged 13-17 over the past one year. 

The report reveals high levels of violence against children in homes where they  are exposed to physical violence, emotional violence, violent discipline by their parents, caregivers or other adult relatives.

“Children who witness or experience violence might learn that violence is appropriate for conflict resolution or is acceptable in intimate interpersonal settings.The 2019 Survey has indeed found a high association between witnessing violence at home and child’s victimisation of violence,” said CS Chelangui.

Chelugui says the National Prevention and Response Plan 2019-2023 will guide programming and resource mobilisation for child protection programmes in Kenya with the view of reducing child violence in the country by 40%.

He noted that beyond the pain and suffering of each and every child survivor of violence, economic cost of violence against children is too high for all sectors and the entire society to bear through direct service provision cost, undermined learning as well as  loss of productivity.

Kenya is a signatory to the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child and the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child, representing a commitment towards prevention and response to all forms of violence against children.

The Constitution of Kenya, Article 53, is explicit on the protection of the child from all forms of exploitation and abuse. Several Kenyan laws also speak to the protection of the child from situations of vulnerability.

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