The work of Childline Kenya is fully supported by funding partners and philanthropists. Despite a very difficult year in 2020 Childline's operations at the Child Helpline continued despite the reduction of staff members and general operations of the organization. Sadly, with the increase of Gender Based Violence (GBV), and VAC during the COVID-19 times, the toll free number 116 received a marked increase in the number of substantive child abuse and counselling cases received at the Helpline e.g. between January and March 2020 a total of 335 such cases were reported. This number rose to 628 in the period April to June 2020 and rose even higher to 962 and 776 from July to September 2020 and October to December 2020 respectively. Although these trends took an emotional toll on the team at Childline Kenya, we found strength in knowing that because we were available, one more child was assisted. The case below is of one of the beneficiaries who reached out for help through the Helpline and found assistance for herself and her family, thanks to your financial support through GlobalGiving.
The case in Brief
Cynthia called the helpline from Nandi county seeking counselling. She is sixteen years old. She had eloped from home in July 2020 to live with her then boyfriend, who is an adult. According to her, everything was going on well until October 2020 when her “husband” started assaulting her physically. After a while she couldn’t take it anymore. She then borrowed her neighbors phone to report the issue to the helpline while the husband was as work. At the time of reporting, Cynthia wanted to go back to her parents’ home but she was scared of the wrath of her parents and brothers because she knew they were still upset with her for running away from home to get married. The Helpline counselor promised to walk with her through the difficult journey and do everything possible to remove her from the abusive situation she found herself in.
Psychosocial Support for Cynthia- On 18th December 2020 Cynthia went through first aid counselling as part of psychosocial support through the helpline service to help her deal with the stress she was going through and also help her on the path towards positive behaviour change. She also went through a virtual counselling session on 19th December to prepare her for rescue and reintegration back home.
Psycho –education support and Family therapy –On 19th December both Cynthia’s parents and brothers were spoken to at length over the phone to present the case and to get an indication whether they were ready to accommodate Cynthia back to the family. They were then linked to the nearest children’s office for further family therapy session and psychoeducation on parenting. After the session there was a clear indicator that Cynthia had a strained relationship with both her parents and siblings and this also contributed to her running away from home.
Rescue- Through coordination with the children office in Nandi, Cynthia was rescued on 20th December and handed over to her family. She is doing well. A counselling session appointment was set for 26th December 2020
Involving the police – Cynthia’s parents reported the case to the police on 20th December but the perpetrator went into hiding when he realized that the case has been reported to the authorities. By law, anyone below 18 years cannot consent to marriage or sexual activity. The "husband" knew this and knew he was in deep trouble for taking Cynthia in as his wife despite her age. He is still at large but is being sought by the police.
Since there still seems to be a strain between Cynthia and her family, the Helpline Counselor is visiting their home once every two weeks to gauge how well she is fitting back in and to assist the family deal with any issues arising. Relevant resource persons are also involved as necessary.
We deeply appreciate the support received from our donors through GlobalGiving without which Cynthia and other children like her would not be able to get the relevant assistance from Childline Kenya. We appreciate you deeply.