Kenya: Gender Ministry Reports 36% Spike in GBV Cases in 2020

Nairobi — The Ministry of Public Service and Gender on Thursday reported a 36 per cent spike in Gender Based Violence cases in 2020, with Nairobi, Kakamega, Kisumu, Nakuru and Kiambu counties accounting for most of the cases.

Cabinet Secretary Margret Kobia said a total of 5,009 cases were recorded between January and December, an increase of 1,411 compared to cases reported in 2019.

She noted that arising from the increased cases during the COVID pandemic in 2020, the President directed the National Crime Research Centre to carry out a study to establish the causes.

"The findings of the study established that the number of Gender Based Violence cases reported between January and June 2020 had an increase of 92 per cent compared to previous year same period,"Kobia further explained.

The study highlighted alcohol, drug and substance abuse, poverty, family disputes and moral decadence among triggers of GBV.

Retrogressive cultural beliefs and practices and identity crisis among youthful population were also cited as reasons.

Most common forms of Gender Based Violence identified were physical assault, rape and attempted rape, murder, defilement, grievous harm, child neglect and psychological torture.

As part of measures to de-escalate the cases, the Ministry of Gender provided a national GBV helpline 1195, national police helpline and child helpline to allow for anonymous reporting, assistance to survivors and to get referrals for medical and legal services to GBV victims.

Through the National Government Affirmative Action, 36 GBV shelters operated by Civil Society Organizations have been established in 13 counties of Nairobi, Kisumu, Mombasa, Kwale, Samburu, Kajiado, Murang'a, Laikipia, Kiambu, Nyeri, Meru, Machakos and Makueni.

CS Kobia said despite the interventions there still remained some ground to be covered, and urged everyone to be involved in preventing GBV.

She said shortcomings included reporting incidences, supporting victims, speaking out against harmful and retrogressive cultural beliefs and practices.

"I wish to appeal to all members of the public to join hands to end this vice before it becomes a normal in violating human rights," CS Kobia said.

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