“Safety and security don’t just happen, they are the result of collective consensus and public investment. We owe our children, the most vulnerable citizens in our society, a life free of violence and fear.” — Nelson Mandela.
In Kenya 32% of females and 18% of males experience sexual violence before the age of 18; 66% of females and 73% of males experienced physical violence; 26% of females and 32% of males experience any violence as a child and 13% of females and 9% of males experienced all three types of violence during childhood. 14% of women and 6% of men aged 15-49 reported having experienced sexual violence at least once in their lifetime (KDHS 2014). As much as this sounds as just statistics it actually translates to letting down the children that we are meant to protect as a society. Most of these violence incidents and abuse is not by strangers but people close to them or have ties to them.
Most of these violence incidents and abuse on children is not by strangers but people close to them or have ties to them.
The definition of a child can be influenced by legal, social/cultural or religion factors. Legally in Kenya a child is anyone below the age of 18, ‘one will always be their parents child’ is an example of socially or culturally influence on the definition and each religion has factors that describe what a child is. Therefore it is the mandate of each one to ensure that we protect children from any kind of abuse. Abuse can be defined as denying Children ANY of their rights, exposing children to potential danger or harm, all forms of physical or emotional abuse, ill-treatment resulting to actual or potential risk to a child’s health and development. Therefore it is essential that we safeguard children against all forms of abuse. Safeguarding can be simply defined as preventing maltreatment of children and making sure that they get a safe environment to grow.
“Inter-religious Council of Kenya is committed to the well-being of ALL children and it is with that it developed a safeguarding policy for children. One that will ensure that the organization has procedures in place to prevent and deal with child abuse and exploitation by all her stakeholders”, said Fr. Mutie in his opening speech during the Child Safeguarding launch.
The IRCK Policy was launched at Roussell House on 7th November 2019 where various religious leaders attended the workshop. The essential inclusions for the policy are that the welfare for a child is paramount, no child or group of children must be treated any less favorably than others in being able to access services which meet their particular needs; that all children, without exception, have a right to protection from abuse regardless of gender, ethnicity, disability, sexuality or beliefs. The principles that guided the IRCK policy are the best interest of the child in all the organizations endeavors, zero tolerance to discrimination, and respect for child opinion in matters affecting him or her and involvement of the child whenever necessary.
“The IRCK policy intents to provide all staff, volunteers and members of management and oversight teams with guidelines on child protection for the organization.
“The IRCK policy intents to provide all staff, volunteers and members of management and oversight teams with guidelines on child protection for the organization. Also to provide a clear reporting procedure that will be implemented where child protection issues arise. It is the mandate of everyone to protect them.” – Fr. Mutie, IRCK Chairman.