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More than 1,000 cases of child sexual abuse have been reported in the last three years, with Nairobi and Kiambu counties taking the lead.

Nairobi led with 57 cases, but none were reported in Samburu and Wajir.

Last year alone, it was reported some 148 underage girls between 11 and 15 years were sexually abused by either immediate family members or neighbours.

In total, 354 cases in which girls aged between one and 17 were sexually abused were reported last year, with 31 involving boys in the same age bracket.

A report released by Childline Kenya blamed a slow judicial process for the delay in concluding child abuse cases.

Childline Kenya executive director George Kidenda said a child usually forgets some facts of the case when asked to testify before a court, because it takes too long to resolve the matter.

The report released three weeks ago has analysed cases reported from 2014 to 2016.

Kidenda also said there is a conspiracy of silence by families to protect offenders, and outright refusal to cooperate with authorities.

Since 2016, Childline Kenya has been running a 24-hour national Child helpline 116 that allows Kenyans to report child abuse cases.

The calls received through the helpline were mainly from Nairobi county, where the degree of awareness is higher.

However, in remote counties where abuse may be rampant, cases go unreported and only occasionally surface in form of news reports after a major incident.

The report details a case of a three-year-old girl from Kisumu who was defiled by a man on a revenge mission against the girl’s mother.

The minor had been left in the house alone, while her mother went to entertain herself in a local bar.
The girls genitals were damaged but she survived two reconstructive surgeries.
Later, she underwent counselling.

According to the report, the least reported forms of abuse were Female Genital Mutilation, child trafficking, abduction and kidnapping.

However, this does not mean such offences do not take place.

“It is likely that the children involved are not aware that there is an opportunity for them through the helpline to be rescued.

Therefore, there is need to sensitise all children on the existence of the Child helpline service so that they are empowered and make use of it,” it reads.

The launch of the 116 helpline number saw a sudden increase in the numbers of cases reported.

The number of calls received at the helpline call centres by the end of 2016 was 48 per cent.

Childline Kenya works in partnership with the government.
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