Kenyans have been urged to help stop all forms of violence against children.
Senior director of administration at Labour and Social Protection ministry Ibrahim Maalim said the campaign to end violence against children is the responsibility of every Kenyan and should not be left to the government alone.
Speaking in Garissa when he opened a two-day workshop, Maalim said incidences of abuse against children are on the rise, but very few are reported.
The workshop brought together Area Advisory Council members to input a report compiled in 2019 on violence against children.
In Northeastern, defilement cases have been on the rise, with Wajir county reporting the highest incidences.
Other forms of violence common in the region are children being neglected or used to herd livestock and cases of parents and guardians mistreating children in their custody.
Retrogressive cultural practices, among them FGM that stands at 89 per cent and early child marriages, are prevalent in the region.
Maalim said based on the report findings, the department came up with the national prevention and response plan with the theme ‘spot it stop it’ to end the vice.
“This [violence against children] must be stopped by everybody. The government alone cannot do it. We must deal with it as a community. That is the only way,” he said.
Maalim said the community should understand that violence against children attracts criminal charges.
He said Maslaha (alternative form dispute resolution) in northern Kenya is an impediment to the war on violence against children.
County children’s coordinator Mohamed Abdi said any form of violence against children has far-reaching effects on their upbringing.
He said the majority of the cases reported in Garissa revolve around lack of care and protection.
Mohamed thanked Unicef and the county government of Garissa for the support they have extended to the department.
He singled out the construction of a child protection unit put up at the Garissa police station for neglected children.