Delay in justice for GBV victims escalating situation – Kenyan Civil Society Organisations

Gender-based violence (GBV) is on the rise in the country, according to civil society organizations, and increasing incidences of delay and denial of justice are exacerbating the problem.
They have called on the government, the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI), the Director of Public Prosecutions, and the judiciary to ensure the victims receive justice, led by the Association of Media Women in Kenya (AMWIK) in partnership with Urgent Action Fund – Africa, Coalition on Violence Against Women.
“We are asking the relevant offices to kindly look at the issue of GBV comprehensively and hasten the process of justice to victims. If justice is served after ten to fifteen years, then that is not justice. We have to stop this cycle and perpetrators continue to perpetrate because they know there is no accountability,” said AMWIK Executive Director Judie Kaberia.
Kaberia urged the government to ensure quick access to justice by allocating the necessary resources to pave way for the establishment of a special unit to clear the backlog of GBV cases and hasten the process of justice.
“Chief Justice Martha Koome in 2021 announced that the judiciary was considering establishing a specialized unit to handle GBV cases in the country but cited resource constraints as a hindrance. The government should speedily allocate the adequate resources,” she said.
The Government is working on a target to eradicate GBV by 2026.President Uhuru Kenyatta had pledged to invest Sh2.3 billion by end of 2022 and another 5 billion shillings by 2026 to implement commitments made to eradicate the vice.
“The President Kenya has committed to eradicating systemic barriers that allow GBV to thrive while undertaking heightened campaigns against GBV and the establishment of safe houses for victims,” Kaberia noted.
With the country headed to elections and the political temperatures heightened due to the campaign period, the civil bodies emphasized the need for the justice system for GBV cases are functional due to cases of violence meted on women in the electioneering period.
Wairimu Munyinyi, the Executive Director of Coalition on Violence Against Women (COVAW) decried that during electioneering period victims of GBV hardly access justice despite laws present.
Munyinyi urged political parties to show leadership by banning leaders who perpetuate violence against women in their actions and political rhetoric.
“This time round we are calling for responsibility from the government, from political parties because they have a duty of care for the electorate who take the civil duty to vote for them. As civilians we also have a duty to say no to leaders who perpetuate a culture of violence,” she said.
A human rights organisation has warned of likely sexual violence against women aspirants in the August general election.
A new report by the Kenya Human Rights Commission (KHRC) together with the International Federation of Human Rights askes the state to prevent such violence.
“After the 2007-2008 post-election violence, the commission of inquiry into the violence reported that over 900 cases of sexual gender-based violence had occurred,” the report said.
According to recent global estimates, nearly 1 in 3 women aged 15 years and above have been subjected to physical or sexual violence by an intimate partner or both at least once in their lifetime however, cases of GBV increased during the COVID-19 pandemic.
A multi-country rapid gender assessment undertaken by the UN Women in Kenya and the Government of Kenya on the impact of COVID-19 confirmed that cases of GBV increased as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

World News

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