Kenya underlines the importance of gender based violence and has made various steps towards alleviating the vice from a policy perspective. The country is a signatory to various international legal instruments that obligate the State to take action against GBV.
Government has made national commitments to uphold and protect human rights and gender equality by developing various policies and legal instruments that focus on forestalling the occurrence of GBV and mitigating consequences.
Some of the policies, guidelines and regulations that Kenya has developed include;
The Kenya Adolescent Reproductive Health Policy (2003) recognizes that both boys and girls can be victims of sexual abuse, but girls are up to three times more likely to be sexually abused than boys. It recommends development of safety nets and rehabilitation and rescue mechanisms for victims of sexual abuse and violence and enhancing measures to protect young people in penal institutions from sexual abuse.
Education Gender Policy (2007) – Prevention and response to school related gender based violence (SRGBV). It recommends mainstreaming of policies that address GBV at all education levels; establishing modalities for dealing with SGBV including harassment; developing of a framework for co-ordination of stakeholders involved in efforts of providing a safe learning environment; and developing and implementing clear anti-sexual harassment and anti-gender based violence policies at all levels in the Ministry of Education and all educational institutions.
Policy Framework for the Implementation of Post-Rape Care Services (2005) ensures the inclusion of sexual violence as a key issue within the Reproductive Health Strategy (2009) and sets the development of standards for post rape care service delivery.
Multisectoral Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) for Prevention of and Response to Sexual Violence in Kenya (2013) developed by the Task Force on the Implementation of the Sexual Offences Act (TFSOA) provide for the minimum package of care to be accorded to survivors across sectors-health, legal and psychosocial, and outline referral pathways in cross sectoral management of survivors.
National guidelines for management of survivors of sexual violence in Kenya (2009) provide minimum and standard of care for survivors within health settings.
The Sexual Offences (Medical Treatment) Regulations (2012)
The Vision 2030 Second Medium Term Plan (2013—17) emphasizes the need for establishment of integrated one stop sexual and gender based violence response centres in all healthcare facilities in Kenya and undertaking public awareness campaign against FGM, early and forced marriages
National Action Plan for Accelerating the Abandonment of FGM/C (2008-2012) aims to promote the abandonment of FGM/C through legislation, public education and outreach programmes, advocacy, media coverage, the empowerment of women and access to reproductive health and other support services .
The County Child Protection Systems Guidelines, spells out an agenda for “coordinated action at county level and provides work practice direction for all formal and informal actors.”
The National Plan of Action Against Sexual Exploitation of Children (2013-2017) focuses on the areas of prevention, protection, recovery and reintegration; coordination and cooperation; child participation; and monitoring and evaluation. In recent years the government has increasingly recognized that issues relating to commercial sexual exploitation are linked to poverty, parents’ lack of education, and problems related to tracking perpetrators of child trafficking beyond Kenya’s borders.
National Monitoring and Evaluation Framework (2014) towards the Prevention of and Response to Sexual and Gender Based Violence in Kenya sets up a national SGBV monitoring and evaluation framework that can consistently collate and present data on SGBV for analysis.
National Plan of Action for Combating Human Trafficking (2013-2017) provides a national approach to address prevention, protection and prosecution as well as regional cooperation on human trafficking. Within this framework, it focuses on causal factors of trafficking, including issues related to sexual exploitation and strategies to address it, including building the capacity of service providers, identifying victims and creating awareness Framework for the national child protection system for Kenya (2011) seeks to “promote linkages between different actors and provide coordinated interventions and responses through statutory mechanisms.”
The remarks were part of a presentation made by lawyer Elizabeth Aroka during a training session in Mombasa.