The Malindi Children’s Court Users Association has raised a red flag over concerns that there are rising cases of sexual offences against children in Malindi and Magarini Sub Counties, Kilifi County.
Malindi Chief Magistrate Elizabeth Usui said they are worried that the number of cases on sexual injustice against children could rise during the festive season and urged parents to be alert and ensure their children are protected.
The committee members and other stakeholders staged a road show in Malindi town and several trading centres in Magarini Sub County in which messages concerning children’s rights were spread to residents.
Usui, who flagged off the road show caravan, said 139 sexual offences against children had been recorded at the Malindi law courts since the beginning of this year.
“There is a huge increase compared to the whole of last year when 96 cases were handled at the children’s court in Malindi and this year they have risen to 139 and yet the year has not ended,” she said.
“This number may rise to more than 150 by the end of the year if the trend continues.” she added.
She said the turn of events had been a cause of great concern to stakeholders and expressed the need to sensitize residents on the rights of children as enshrined in the new Children’s Act 2022.
Mrs Usui said the Judiciary in Malindi had resolved to expedite cases of sexual offences against children during the month of November, while the committee will out to the areas considered to be hotpots, such as Magarini Sub County to sensitize the community.
She said children of both genders have been victims of the atrocities against children, but noted that the most affected were girls who fall prey to adult males, some of them very close relatives.
“Most of the cases we handled involve injustice against girls, but we have seen a rising trend in cases involving boys.
Malindi Sub County Children’s Officer Sebastian Muteti concurred with the Chief Magistrate that cases of defilement were on the rise and attributed the trend to a breakdown of morals among residents.
He said the number of cases of injustice against children was higher than those recorded at the court, noting that most of the cases are not reported at all and called on the stakeholders to take advantage of the child service month to involve the community in the matter.
Ms Helder Lameck, the chairperson of the Malindi Gender Based Violence (GBV) Network, called upon parents to cooperate with stakeholders and protect their children especially during the school holidays.
She called for a total ban on disco matanga and church vigils involving children saying many sexual offence cases against children occur during such activities.