Administration of Justice
The Nairobi County Government has made some strides in putting up measures to support victims of Sexual and Gender-based Violence and accelerate efforts for access to healthcare and justice that include training police officers and care workers on SGBV and setting up more health facilities to provide services for survivors in Nairobi county.
The training of police officers to handle SGBV victims is particularly important considering that they are often the first point of contact and how they handle and support a GBV survivor will often influence access to justice.
For a long time, victims of SGBV have decried hostility and lack of empathy from police officers, a vice that continues to block many people from reporting cases of abuse.
Even though Gender Desks have been installed in various police stations to handle GBV cases, without adequate capacity building the police officers will still not be able to deliver.
According to the Nairobi Metropolitan service, a total of 20 National Police Service commanders have so far been trained on SGBV and protection of victims/survivors in Nairobi county.
It was quite heartwarming last week to see a police officer, who seats at one of the gender desks in a police station in Ruiru engaging stakeholders during a recent forum on ending SGBV. Her presence in some way humanized the police service.
The Nairobi City County Sexual and Gender-Based Violence Management and Control Bill 2019
The Nairobi City County Sexual and Gender-Based Violence Management and Control Bill, which was recently assented into law by Governor Ann Kananu, seeks to provide awareness, prevention and response to sexual and gender-based violence and protection, treatment, counseling support, and care for victims.
Medical Support for GBV Survivors
The Bills requires that all medical institutions in the county whether public or private, including medical insurance providers, facilitate access to healthcare services to victims of sexual and gender-based violence without unnecessary impediments.
A GBV victim or survivor will often either end up at a police station or hospital following an abuse. A medical facility is the first recommended avenue to go especially if the victim needs medical attention. The medical officers are then able to write their medical reports and refer victims to get P3 forms.
That NMS has established dedicated Tumaini Clinics within the county where GBV survivors can access free medical support is quite commendable.
The Nairobi county government has also been in the process of setting up safe houses for victims of Gender-based violence and the new Bill provides the framework for their establishment.
In March this year, following an alarming rise in GBV cases in Kenya occasioned by the COVID-19 containment measures enforced in the country, Nairobi Metropolitan Services (NMS) Director, General Mohamed Badi directed City Hall to convert old, unused government houses into safe houses for victims of Gender-based Violence.
Badi’s directive followed an outcry by the Nairobi County Women SGBV caucus, led by Nairobi County Assembly Deputy Majority Whip Waithera Chege over the lack of places of refuge for victims and survivors of SGBV despite Nairobi leading in such cases.
At the time, At least 6,262 SGBV cases had been reported across county government hospitals within 11 months.
The Nairobi City County Sexual and Gender-Based Violence Prevention, Response and Control Act, 2021 prescribes for each sub-county to have at least one safe house and for the county government to make budgetary allocations for new or existing shelter programs.
The county government has consequently set aside 50 million Kenya Shillings for the construction of safe houses in Nairobi.
Safe Houses for GBV Victims Step in the Right Direction