The children’s department in Naivasha has raised alarm over increasing cases of child sexual assault and neglect by parents and guardians including close relatives.
Speaking to KNA Thursday, the Sub-County Children’s Officer John Chege said the department handles over 2,300 children related matters each year with a notable spike in child sexual abuse and negligence cases.
Chege for instance regretted they have recorded over 180 child sex abuse cases in the last one year with the heinous acts being perpetrated by well-known individuals to the child including step fathers and other close relatives.
He said the cases spiked during the COVID-19 pandemic as children were left idle and vulnerable to criminal elements in their homes and neighborhoods.
He, however, said the department has been taking immediate action on abused or assaulted children including linking them to health facilities, cooperating with police to pursue abusers and ensuring safety of the child at reputable institutions.
He added that the department has also been working closely with other state and non-state actors to offer psychosocial support, provide shelter, and reunite lost children with their families.
Chege said 1,495 cases of child neglect, 437 relating child custody and 115 on child abandonment have been reported in the sub county in the last one year.
He reiterated that the increase in these cases can be attributed to economic hardship brought about by the Covid -19 pandemic, collapse of some flower farms and the transient nature of Naivasha town.
Chege however hailed increased levels of awareness among locals that has seen them report such cases to authorities for redress.
“I urge parents to be cautious and pay close attention to who they leave their children with, including close family members and relatives,” he advised.
He regretted lack of a public owned children center in Naivasha that can host vulnerable children noting that the government had imposed a 10-year moratorium on opening new children homes. He explained the moratorium aims at enhancing advocacy to facilitate successful reunion of children in such homes with their families.