The dimensions of child abuse in Kenya: a case study of forms of child abuse in Kiambaa division in Kiambu district
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Child abuse has for a long time been recorded in literature, art and science in many parts of the world and remains a challenging social problem all over the world. Manifestations of child abuse include: child labour; sexual abuse; corporal punishment; abandonment among others. Under the Children Act (2002), the government commits itself to take steps to the maximum of its available resources to progressively achieve the full realization of the rights of the child. These rights include right to life, parental care, education as well as health care. Various sources of information including research findings, case reports, population surveys and official statistics often reveal very little about the pattern of child abuse. This is partly because in many countries there are no legal or social systems with specific responsibility for recording, let alone responding to reports of child abuse and neglect. (Bross et al; 2000). A survey done in 1998/9 revealed that Kenya had 1.9 million children between age 5 to 17 years working, deprived of worthwhile childhood and access to education. (ILO Analytical Report, 2006). Although there is little data to verify the true scale of the problem of sexual abuse, children are clearly vulnerable to such abuse given the levels of poverty and the large numbers of AIDS orphans and street children. Corporal punishment is a regular method of instilling discipline on children by teachers and parents. This takes the form of canning, slapping, and whipping among others. Use of abusive language, threats and intimidation are also common occurrences. To combat the vice sensitization and public awareness on the child's right violation should be intensified by the relevant governmental and non-state agencies. Law enforcement should be tightened to apprehend and prosecute perpetrators of child abuse in the society and the community needs to work together with the Children's Department and other relevant government and non-state organs to address child abuse in the division.