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.