UNICEF calls for stringent measures to protect children

Suspected serial killer Evans Juma Wanjala is claimed to have brutally murdered five young girls after assaulting and defiling themPhoto Courtesy

By Collins Orono

UNICEF has condemned the kidnapping and murder of children in Nairobi and other parts of Kenya and called for those responsible to be held to account, while additional measures to protect children are taken.

“UNICEF condemns in the strongest possible terms the kidnapping and killing of children, this is one of the worst crimes imaginable and there can be no excuses for it,” UNICEF Representative to Kenya Maniza Zaman said. “As well as holding the perpetrators to account, we need to redouble our efforts to ensure that children are protected wherever they are at home, in schools and in public spaces. We need psychosocial support for child victims and their families, and we need to ensure that the public is vigilant and knows how to recognize and report any kind of violence against children.”

In response to persistently high rates of violence against children in Kenya, the Ministry of Labour and Social Protection, with support from UNICEF, last year launched a five-year National Prevention and Response Plan on Violence against Children. This includes a public information campaign ‘Spot It, Stop It’ which aims to raise public awareness of violence against children and how to prevent and report it. Children and adults are encouraged to speak up about violence, seek support from a trusted adult, children officer or the Child Helpline on 116 (toll free), and report cases to the police.

“It is important to empower communities to look out for the safety and protection of children,” Maniza Zaman added. “We need a ‘whole of society’ approach, involving the Government, communities, parents and caregivers, teachers, and children themselves. No child should ever go through the traumatic experience of being a victim of violence and abuse.”

The 2019 Violence Against Children Survey found that among those who participated in the survey, 46 percent of 18 to 24-year-old young women had faced at least one type of violence physical, emotional or sexual during their childhood, as well as 56 percent of young men in the same age group.

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