Kenya has stepped up its campaign to create awareness on Violence Against Children (VAC). This is through a partnership with Safaricom dubbed ‘Spot It! Stop It!
This is a national public behaviour change campaign spearheaded by the Directorate of Children Services to provide information to children and the public on the channels to report child abuse cases and provide information on the available services for children.
Data from the Nairobi County Children Services shows that they receive an average of 200 cases of child violence daily, while in the nine sub-counties, about 30 cases are reported daily.
The Department of Children’s services recorded at least 17,000 child protection cases between July 2020 and September 2021, mostly relating to neglect, followed by physical violence.
The Children Services Directorate developed the campaign in response to a 2019 Kenya Violence Against Children Survey report and the National Prevention and Response Plan on Violence against Children 2019-2023 that had shown that most children whose rights are violated never report the cases to the relevant authorities.
In its findings, 62.6 per cent of females experienced multiple incidences of childhood sexual violence, while 34.3 per cent of females and 32.2 per cent of male children experienced emotional violence.
The statistics also show that violence against children is deeply rooted in society, with nearly 45.9 per cent of females and 56.1 per cent of males experiencing childhood violence, while 38.8 females and 51.9 per cent of males experienced physical violence from parents and caregivers as the perpetrators.
The campaign started in Nairobi County on 25th October with sensitization forums for various stakeholders including Children, the Area Advisory committee for children services, the National Government Administrative organ, Education stakeholders and County Government officials. It will target all 47 counties but with initial launches in high-risk counties.
“Every action taken in prevention and response counts as all children deserve a safe childhood,” Cabinet Secretary Public Service, Gender, Social Protection, Senior Citizens Affairs and Special Programmes, Prof. Margaret Kobia said during the launch.
As part of the campaign, children will also be informed on how to identify and report online abuse with the Directorate of Children Services and UNICEF distributing a child-friendly booklet on violence against children.
In November 2020, UNICEF Kenya and Safaricom announced a partnership to help Kenyan children in a range of areas including education, child protection and emergencies.
Through the partnership, they pledged to work together to ensure children – especially the poorest and most marginalized – can access the Internet at school, are protected from violence and abuse, and receive life-saving information during droughts, floods and disease outbreaks such as COVID-19.