Nairobi County leads in reporting incidences of child abuse in the country, the Child Protection Report indicates.

The report, launched by Childline Kenya in collaboration with the Government, places Nairobi first in reporting different forms of child abuse including child neglect and abandonment, child sexual abuse, child trafficking, abduction and kidnapping, labour , emotional and physical abuse.

Kajiado County is leading in Female Genital Mutilation cases, which the report indicates is still underreported as family and community consider it as an acceptable tradition.

The report collected data from 2006-2016 to bring to attention the cases of child abuse as reported through Childline’s helpline 116.

Statistically, Childline Kenya has registered over 6m attempts to access the 116 helpline, out of which approximately 3 million were received and 3.1 million dropped. Out of the calls received, 33,929 were cases of child abuse while the 2.8 million were attempts to access counseling or information, including pranks and silent calls.

Child neglect leads the type of child abuse cases at 13,878, followed by sexual abuse at 7832. The others are physical abuse (7317), child labour (3123), emotional abuse (1025) and child trafficking and abduction (528).

Based on cases reported to Childline Kenya, the report highlighted that perpetrators of child abuse are usually known to the child and are someone the child trusts, with immediate family members at 75 per cent and by parents and extended family at 17 per cent and eight per cent respectively.

“This works against the child, because most times the family members will settle the case within the family and the perpetrator gets to live another day and abuse another child,” said Childline Kenya Executive Director Dr. George Kidenda when presenting the report.

It was also highlighted that reporting of the child abuse has been declining in the last four years due to technical issue and diminished ability to create awareness.

Kidenda said these numbers were merely a shadow of the reality on the ground as many abuse cases go unreported every day. One of the reasons for lack of or under reporting is that most people, including children, are not aware of what constitutes child abuse and channels through which such cases can be reported. In rural areas for example, some cases are only highlighted when the media report it.

“Many cases go unreported for fear of being victimized in school. Furthermore, many people do not know that there exist hotlines where incidents of abuse could be reported by anyone who witnesses them. More awareness is therefore needed to empower children on their rights and where to report should their rights be violated,” he said.

The report launched also featured the unveiling of the Shine a Light campaign geared towards creating awareness about child abuses and how Kenyans can contribute to preventing and stopping the vice. The campaign aims to raise shs 10 million to support the rescue and rehabilitation of abused children.