By Constance Ndeleko
We need to shield our children from all forms of abuse and we can only do so if we care for their well being. Most people don’t understand the term child neglect and thus there’s need for community awareness and sensitization.
According to Child line Kenya’s report :
- 19% of call made between October and December 2019 reported child neglect.
- 15% of the calls made were from Nairobi county and it has the highest record in all the 47 counties in Kenya.
- 55% of the reported cases of children affected by child neglect were boys between the age of 0-5 years being the most affected.
- 83% of perpetrators of child neglect were immediate family.
Child Neglect: Neglect means the failure to meet children’s physical and psychological needs, protect them from danger, or obtain medical, birth registration or other services when those responsible for children’s care have the means, knowledge and access to services to do so.
- Physical neglect: failure to protect a child from harm, including through lack
of supervision, or failure to provide the child with basic necessities including adequate
food, shelter, clothing and basic medical care;
- Psychological or emotional neglect: including lack of any emotional support
and love, chronic inattention to the child, caregivers being “psychologically unavailable” by overlooking young children’s cues and signals, and exposure to intimate partner violence, drug or alcohol abuse;
- Neglect of children’s physical or mental health: withholding essential medical
care;Educational neglect: failure to comply with laws requiring caregivers to
secure their children’s education through attendance at school or otherwise; and
Abandonment: a practice which is of great concern and which can
disproportionately affect, inter alia, children out of wedlock and children with disabilities in some societies.
What penalties are given to perpetrators of child neglect?
According to the Children’s Act chapter 141, it states that: If any person who has the custody, charge or care of any child: and who deliberately assaults, ill treats, abandons, or expose the child to any form of unnecessary suffering or injury to health (mental and physical) or by omission, knowingly causes that child to become or contribute to his or her becoming, in need of care and protection.
He or She who commits an offense is liable on conviction to flee not exceeding kes. 200,000 or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding five years or both.
With the above provisions what are you doing to ensure that children in your community are safeguarded and protected from all forms of abuse?
Safeguarding our children from child neglect means we are protecting their vulnerability from being exposed to different forms of child abuse and allowing them to grow and develop without fear of their lives being endangered.