Igembe South, Kenya – Vincent Kaunda, the Children’s Officer of Igembe South, has emphasized the need for a unified effort among parents, religious leaders, schools, and government bodies to combat violence against children. His appeal was made during the inauguration of Children Justice Service Month at Maua law court ground.
According to Kenya News Agency, Kaunda pledged to collaborate with local authorities, including chiefs and Nyumba Kumi representatives, to address grassroots issues of child abuse and exploitation, particularly during the long holiday season. He underscored the commitment to protect children from various forms of abuse, including child labor, defilement, female genital mutilation (FGM), and early marriages.
Highlighting the growing concern of incest in the area, Kaunda warned that many cases go unreported due to familial stigma. He urged immediate reporting of such incidents for prosecution, regardless of the perpetrator’s relation to the victim. Kaunda also called for a collective responsibility among stakeholders in protecting and upholding children’s rights.
Caroline Obara, the magistrate of Maua Law Court, spoke at the event, highlighting the court’s dedication to prioritizing children’s rights and wellbeing during the Children’s Justice Service month. She stressed the court’s role in raising public awareness about children’s rights, including access to education, healthcare services, and basic necessities.
Obara emphasized the importance of parental care and guidance, noting the neglect of parental roles in favor of house helps and grandparents, which contributes to children’s indiscipline and immorality. She pointed out the prevalence of school-aged boys in miraa harvesting in the region, advocating for parents to prioritize education, especially for the boy child.
The magistrate also encouraged parents from underprivileged backgrounds to utilize government programs like the Elimu Scholarship and the Presidential Secondary School bursary scheme. These programs aim to support needy children in obtaining education. Additionally, Obara highlighted the legal consequences of defilement under the Sexual Offences Act, including life imprisonment for defilement of a child 11 years or younger, and significant prison terms for offenders who defile older children.