Shine A Light on Child Abuse in Kenya

by Childline Kenya
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Shine A Light on Child Abuse in Kenya
Shine A Light on Child Abuse in Kenya
Shine A Light on Child Abuse in Kenya
Shine A Light on Child Abuse in Kenya
Shine A Light on Child Abuse in Kenya
Shine A Light on Child Abuse in Kenya
Shine A Light on Child Abuse in Kenya
Shine A Light on Child Abuse in Kenya
Shine A Light on Child Abuse in Kenya
Shine A Light on Child Abuse in Kenya
Shine A Light on Child Abuse in Kenya

The year 2021 was successful for Childline Kenya because of the immense support of the GlobalGiving community. Our selection as Project of the Month February 2021 was one of our highlights. We send our big hugs of appreciation your way for believing in us and also for supporting us through this worthwhile journey throughout the year in child protection. In total, we were able to respond to the plight of 22,401 children with different concerns as follows:

1,737 had been abused or violated

467 needed counseling for various mental health concerns

12,731 required specific and general information on child protection and keeping children safe.

Below is a story of one of the children who benefited from our work:

On completing her primary education, Betty* (not her real name), a 15 year old girl, went to live in a different town with a family friend who was in her mid-twenties. This friend exposed Betty to pornographic content which was largely available on her phone and computer. Over time, she went further to open a Facebook account for Betty, and coached her on the kind of sexually explicit photos and videos – semi nudes and in tight dresses – she could post to attract men online, and with it some earnings. Betty lived with the friend for several weeks and actively participated in the "new trade" which she sadly got addicted to. This went on for a long time. One time, Betty innocently spoke about her activities on Facebook to a neighbour who was terrified and decided to raise alarm through Childline Kenya. The case was investigated and Betty promptly rescued and is receiving regular counselling provided by a Childline Kenya therapist. Meanwhile her "friend" was arrested and the case is ongoing in court. Betty is now on the road to recovery despite the fact that the process is slower as she had already gotten addicted to pornographic material and related activity and the cash that came with it. Chilldine is committed to walk this difficult journey with Betty until she is well again to enjoy her childhood.

On Betty's behalf and all children who benefit from our work and on behalf of the team at Childline Kenya, I say thank you very much to our GlobalGiving partners for keeping our work relevant to Shine A Light on Child Abuse in Kenya. We look forward to an even greater year 2022 with your support. 

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Childline has continued to serve children relentlessly. In July to September 2021, a total of 66,734 cases have been listened to and support provided as necessary. These cases included those presenting various child protection issues including reports of violence against children and abuse; requests for counselling and other psychosocial support; and requests for information on various child protection issues.  Out of the over 66,000 cases managed there were a total of 415 child survivors of violence and abuse. One such case is presented as a case study below. We are able to support these children thanks to the immense support we receive through GlobalGiving directly and the donors who choose to support us directly as an organization and through the GlobalGiving platforms. For this support we are forever grateful.

What does the case address/or bring out?

The following case study clearly shows the role of Childline Kenya's partners, and specifically the Kenya Police Service in this instance, in handling cases of affected children, in the best interest of the child, by dealing with underlying issues even when there is inadequate evidence to pursue a case through court.

The case in summary

A four-year-old boy was allegedly slapped by a neighbor after he spit on this neighbor from a balcony as he was passing. The aggrieved mother to the child called the child helpline in fury demanding that the said neghbour be arrested and charged in court for physical assault. For meaningful conversation to take place, the helpline counselor employed the relevant skills to calm the mother down first. An appointment was then agreed for the following day for a detailed discussion of the case after it had been determined that the child was not in any immediate danger.

During the meeting the following day the helpline counselor accompanied the mother and child to the police station to record their statement as best as they could. In the process of telling the story, several inconsistencies were noted and confronted by the police. When asked for any witnesses to the incident, none were identified except the boy, whose narration was not flowing either, based on age and therefore the ability to recall the incident and retell the story. It became very difficult to put together a watertight case. There was no medical report as well to substantiate the claims as the child not been attended to at a medical, and even though it would be very difficult to ascertain the impact of a slap on a medical report unless there is scarring. It was also established that the child’s mother and the accused neighbor had historical conflict that has remained unresolved sparking different reactions. It was not clear whether this was therefore a case of one getting back at the other in relation to the historical conflicts.

It was therefore agreed that the case would not be taken to court, for lack of adequate evidence to support an assault case, but the mother and her neighbor would attend at least three counseling sessions to deal with their friction. Childline recommended to them some partners who also provide psychosocial support to adults. It was also recommended that one of them moves out of the rental units to diffuse the tension. Finally, the child would also go through assessment by the Childline counselor and go through therapy to deal with any resultant trauma from the incident and the subsequent events.

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The strength of Childline Kenya’s work lies in its partnerships. Partners play a critical role in all aspects of delivery of our services. Partners go far beyond our funding partners and child protection service providers and comprise of members of the community including children themselves. The community is a critical partnership base that usually notices a child protection concern first, and decides to seek help on behalf of the child in need to ensure the child situation changes positively. These are great champions in child protection. I’d like to share with you one case of a community child protection champion who took the burden on behalf of a 3-month old abandoned baby.

In a town on the western side of Kenya a baby was heard crying by a neighbor for a long time, almost an hour. The neighbor wondered about this unusual occurrence and went to check whether the baby was OK or whether the mother needed assistance with the baby. The neighbor found the baby left alone in the single-roomed house on the floor with only some tattered cloth around him and visibly shaking from the cold. The baby was 3 months old. The neighbour panicked and called the Child Helpline service by dialing 116. The counselor on the other end of the line calmed her down and gave her step by step instructions on how to handle the situation. At the counselor’s instruction she wrapped the baby in a blanket to keep him warm and also gave him some milk to calm him down. While she calmed the baby down, the helpline counselor got in touch with the nearest children officer in the area to assist with reporting the case to the police and to facilitate placement of the child in a safe shelter as they trace his mother or other relatives. The life of this baby was thus saved, thanks to the concern of the child protection champion aka neighbor.

We therefore appreciate all our partners including those who take action to report the cases and bring relief to children in need; those who provide direct services to children in need of care and protection; those who provide technical support to increasingly improve Childline Kenya’s efficiency and effectiveness; and the funding partners who ensure there’s adequate funding to keep the Child Helpline service functional with qualified counselors 24/7. Indeed, it takes a village to raise a child.

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The joy of making a difference in one child’s life gives us the energy to face another day more confident that it is possible to STOP child abuse. Childline Kenya in its quest to Shine A Light on Child Abuse in Kenya solders on until this dream becomes a reality. In the past three months we have responded to many children some of whom are violated while some are struggling with other relational matters. Lenny is a 15-year-old boy who struggled to find his place in his family. Here is his story.

Lenny called the helpline in Kenya reporting a strained parent/child relationship. He is a grade 9 student in a nearby Secondary school who lives with his parents and his 4 sisters. Lenny had run away from home because he felt that his parents treated him differently from his sisters. He believed this was because he might not be their biological child. Whenever he made a small mistake they would shout at him and beat him up. He said it was unfair because he did not see the same things being done to his sisters. He started building the ideology that he did not belong in that family. He therefore wanted the helpline team to assist him to trace and reunite with his biological parents. This was a very emotional session as Lenny kept breaking down severally and crying uncontrollably. It had been one week since he ran away from home and was staying with friends at a neighbouring town. The Helpline team worked with the relevant authorities and Lenny was brought back home. His family was elated to see him especially because, after a week, they had started losing hope of ever seeing him alive.

We facilitated a session for Lenny and his parents to air out their differences and start sorting out the concerns. Lenny narrated how their behavior made him feel and said that he wanted to belong to a family where he felt loved and appreciated. His parents confirmed that Lenny was indeed their biological son. Their first born child. They showed him documents relating to his birth to confirm that he was indeed their child. Being the first child and an only son the parents wanted to instill discipline in him to be a good role model to his sisters. They wanted to see him more responsible for the same of his future. Their love for him was deep.

We took the opportunity to provide tips to the parents on some of the ways to still meet their discipline and responsibility goal without crushing the person of their child. They apologized for their behavior and together agreed how to handle things better in future.

At the end of February 2021, Lenny confirmed that things had changed for the better at home. His parents also expressed their happiness at the way he had improved in his behavior. Their relationship seemed to be heading in the right direction. It was agreed that both parties will continue being deliberate about building a healthy relationship. They are free to reach out to the Helpline anytime they need support through the process.

The Helpline counsellors remain available 24/7 every day of the year. This is made possible by the great support of our partners including the GlobalGiving community. From the bottom of our hearts we say “Thank You”. You are welcome to keep supporting us whenever you can. One child’s life turned around for the better, makes the whole difference.

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Hi Friend of Childline! 

Childline Kenya is thrilled to announce that we’ve been chosen as GlobalGiving’s Project of the Month for February 2021

Our work to Shine a Light on Child Abuse in Kenya was selected from a pool of more than 5,000 nonprofit projects in 170+ countries. Nearly 3,000 donors come together and make monthly donations to keep the Project of the Month going. See the link to our project at https://www.globalgiving.org/projects/shine-a-light-on-child-abuse-in-kenya/.

This extra support means the world to us—and to the children of Kenya whom we serve. Over the course of the next year, we’ll use these additional funds to increase awareness on child protection and related services, optimize access to the child helpline service and strengthen response to reported cases of violence against children.

We can’t thank you enough for your continued compassion and generosity. 

With gratitude, 

 

 

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Childline Kenya

Location: Nairobi - Kenya
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Twitter: @childlinekenya
Project Leader:
Martha Sunda
Nairobi, Nairobi Kenya
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