Plan International, together with the Department of Children Services and the Kenya Police Service, ran an event to train volunteer children officers in Tharaka Nithi County to keep children safe by providing quarterly reports on protection issues.
The event supported 32 volunteers to learn how to report cases of child abuse and preserve evidence. The training was facilitated by David Nditi, the police officer in charge of the Child Protection Unit and Gender Mainstreaming at Marimanti Police Station.
Reporting cases of abuse
“The need to empower communities to report cases is an indication that communities are courageous to speak up against the vices that occur in their communities, without fear of being victimised,” said Njeru from Plan International Kenya.
“The volunteers who interact with these children and their parents are considered to be at a point of great of influence because they can sensitise the parents and even the children on the need to ensure that they do not hide cases of defilement or settle them out of court.”
Keeping children safe
One of the volunteers said, “I have learnt new and important things regarding preservation of evidence. Prior to this, cases reported concerning defilement and sodomy remained unattended due to distorted evidence.
“With this new knowledge, I commit myself to train more people including the parents and community members on how to preserve evidence to ensure that the perpetrators don’t go scot-free.”
KEY STEPS TO NOTE ON EVIDENCE PRESERVATION:
- Do not wash your body or clean the clothes you are wearing.
Why is it important not to wash your body?
- Because all possible evidence should be preserved, this includes torn clothes and soiled panties.
- Do not store your clothes in a polythene paper as it will destroy evidence. Use other materials such as newspaper.
Remember, sexual abuse is a criminal offence.
- Make sure you report to the police immediately preferably within 24 hours.
- At the police station, request to be issued with a police form (P3) that you should then take to a government doctor to fill out after medical examination.
- Go to the nearest government health facility or hospital for examination and treatment of injuries and get pills that may prevent you from contracting HIV/AIDS and getting pregnant.
- It is not your fault; you are a survivor of a criminal act.
- Do not be afraid to speak up and reach out for assistance.
- For assistance, Call 116 for free.