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Kenya’s Sexual Offences Act Only In Paper?

May 20 2011 – The Sexual Of fences Act (SOA) is celebrating 6 years of existence having came into force on 21 July 2006.

Various stakeholders  in the implementation of Sexual Offenses Act alongside all sectors responding to sexual and gender based violence will meet at the Great Rift Valley Lodge in Naivasha beginning May 25 to May 27 2011 to take stock on the success or lack thereof

But even as the stakeholders meet, at Women eNews Kenya we ask “Why Police in Moyale failed to arrest five men from the Burji community who were suspected of sexually assaulting a 16-year-old girl”

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Kenya’s Sexual Offences Act Only In Paper?
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The Kenya Police Crime Report and Data for 2007 indicates that there were 876 cases of rape, 1,984 cases of defilement, 181 cases of incest, 198 cases of sodomy, 191 cases of indecent assault and 173 cases of abduction reported in 2007.

The 2003 Kenya Demographic and Health Survey showed that 49% of Kenyan women reported experiencing violence in their lifetime; one in four had experienced violence in the previous 12 months.

According to the UNAIDS report, Violence Against Women and Girls in the Era of HIV and AIDS, the survey revealed that, 83% of women and girls had experienced one or more episodes of physical abuse in childhood; 46% reported one or more episodes of sexual abuse in childhood.

In Kenya, 25% of 12-24 year old had their first sexual experience by force.30 Over 60% of these women and children
did not report the event to anyone prior to reporting for this survey. Only 12% who had been physically or sexually abused reported to someone in authority, such as a village elder or the police.

There are 341 police stations in Kenya, 227 police posts and 221 police patrol bases, for a total of 789 permanent policing centres.

In 2004, the Kenyan government launched the first ever gender desk at the Kilimani Police Station.

Even though women’s and children’s desks exist in almost all police stations, their effectiveness is limited by a variety of reasons.

Most of the offcers responsible for the gender desks have not received training on gender responsive crime management, neither do they possess skills of handling survivors of SGBV such as, counselling or referral.

The other significant challenge is that, the resources are minimal to equip and train the police officers so that they can effectively manage the gender desks.

By Ngigi Kamau

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