Kakamega County Coordinator of Children Services Masika Wasikehascalled on stakeholders to intensify child protection interventions.
This comes after the county recorded 6, 686 cases of sexual violence against children since January this year.
Masika says the burden of protecting children could not be left to parents and the Children’s Department only and stressed that the input of the entire society was needed.
“Most parents experience a lot of challenges in bringing up children and even close relatives have ended up defiling the same children they have been entrusted with,” he said during a stakeholders meeting on Friday.
He attributed the rise in teenage defilement and pregnancy cases to poverty, child labour, traditional beliefs, poor parenting and negligence.
The officer appealed to law enforcers and the Judiciary to expedite the execution of defilement cases to deter potential perpetrators.
The report by the National Council for Population and Development (NCPD) indicates that the county registered the second-highest rate of teenage pregnancies in 2019 after Nairobi with 17, 555 cases against the latter’s 26, 538.
The two Counties were followed by Nakuru with 16, 764, Meru (15, 826) and Bungoma (14,512).
Speaking at the same forum, the county Gender-based Violence Centre Coordinator Rose Muhanda said the situation could be much worse than what was captured as many sexual violence cases go unreported.
Muhanda disclosed that the county through its Department of Social Services is constructing two gender-based victims’ rehabilitation centres at Shinyalu and at the County Referral Hospital.