Violence against children can stunt Kenya’s next generation

Violence begets violence, a vicious cycle that perpetuates poverty, illiteracy, disability and early death.

Child victims of violence are more likely to become perpetuators of violence as adults, and often develop personality or behavioural problems, lower learning capabilities, lower levels of social development and increased use of unhealthy coping mechanisms. High levels of child violence prevent children from being able to “develop their personality, talents and mental and physical abilities to the fullest potential,” (UN Convention on the Rights of the Child).

Kenya’s Constitution states that every child in Kenya has the “right to protection from abuse, neglect, harmful cultural practices, all forms of violence, inhumane treatment and punishment, and hazardous or exploitative labour” yet a government-commissioned study found that over 75% of females and 80% of males in Kenya experience a form of violence before the age of 18. Most often, this violence is perpetrated by those that children are supposed to trust, such as parents, teachers, romantic partners and others in authority. Additionally, violence is often condoned by communities, excused as a common act.

An ad hoc and non-systematic child protection system, surrounded by budgetary constraints and inadequate staff and institutional capacity, has led to a dismal performance to addressing violence against children in Kenya. Most cases of violence go unreported in Kenya; the GoK’s study found that less than 10% of those who experienced violence knew where to go for professional help.

All of these circumstances have dire consequences for Kenya’s children and for the achievement of Kenya’s Vision 2030. Violence against children must urgently be addressed to foster the development of the next generation of social, responsible, and active citizens.

On 7 May 2014, GOAL, Plan International and CESVI launched their integrated programme “Actions for Child Protection – Violence against Children,” funded by the European Union. The programme aims to contribute to the eradication of all forms of violence against children in Kenya, including mental, physical, sexual and neglectful abuse.

GOAL’s, Plan’s and CESVI’s extensive experience in child protection will contribute to the overall success of the programme, which aims to detect, protect, prevent and respond to any form of violence against children, and rehabilitate child victims of violence. The multi-faceted programme targets the various settings where violence occurs, including at the home and in the family, in school and other educational settings, care institutions and detention centres, in the community and through policy and advocacy, to ensure children’s fundamental rights to protection from all forms of violence is upheld.

Through a combined budget of €5,236,364, the three-year programme will reach a total of 26 statutory children’s institutions, 63 charitable children’s institutions, 181 schools, community and government protection mechanisms, and an estimated 300,000 vulnerable parents and children.

For more information, please contact:

Jo Ryan
Country Director
GOAL Kenya
+254 (0) 20 2721999

Carol Sherman
Country Director
Plan Kenya
+254 (0) 716 042529

Giovanna Fortuni
Country Director

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