| Nov 10, 2020
Less Safety at Home-COVID-19 Chronicles
Counselor at the Helpline
Childline Kenya provides child protection services through ICT innovations. We manage the only national child helpline service available for free by dialing 116 from anywhere in Kenya 24/7. Since the set up of the Child Helpline in Kenya in 2006, the highest reported form of child abuse was child neglect consistently. This narrative has since changed with the onset of COVID-19. In this season, defilement cases have skyrocketed, accounting for at least 63 new cases reported every month! This is alarming! Sadly, these cases are perpetrateed by people within the family and people well known to the children. With the self quarantine arrangements and working from home requirements, some children have found themselves confined in the same space with their "would be" abusers for prolonged periods with no breaks to report their concerns to their teachers or other adults as would have been the case if they were going to school or to religious institutions.
In response to this concern, there is need to sensitize the children on the available online based reporting platforms including the Helpline 116. As the children participate in online learning they should also be aware that they can use the online platforms to report abuse. In addition, they can raise the red flag with their peers, religious leaders and other trusted adults...including the teachers when they are facilitating e-learning, so that help is sought for them immediately it is required.
With support from Childline's donors and philanthropists we have been able to engage additional counselors to increase the capacity of the helpline to respond to more cases. The increase in couselors has translated to a big increase in reported cases and therefore case resolution for example between January to March 335 cases were handled. This increased to 628 cases in April to June and further increased to 962 between July and September 962.
Childline, with support from state and non-state partners, including the GlobalGiving community, has also begun actively developing messages to promote the Helpline service on social media while also sharing information on various topical issues in child protection. This is meant to provide needed infromation in the public with regard to child protection but most importantly encourage reporting of child protection concerns for resolution.