The Judiciary has identified informal settlements in and around Naivasha as the hot spot for the rising cases of child abuse in the lakeside town.
The settlements that incidentally harbor hundreds of flower farm workers were mapped out as the epicenter of defilement, abandonment, assault and neglect of the minors.
This came as a lack of Child Protection Unit (CPU) at the Naivasha police station and an acute shortage of magistrates were identified as the main challenges facing minors charged in court with various offences.
This emerged during the launch of the Children Service Month at the Naivasha Law Courts with cases involving minors being prioritized in November.
According to the Court’s Presiding Judge Grace Nzioka, there were close to 150 criminal cases being handled in the facility with the number on the rise in the last one year.
She termed the number as worrying, adding that the Judiciary was keen to work with stakeholders to reduce the case backlog.
Speaking during the launch of the service month, the Judge noted that failure by witnesses to show up in courts and poor investigations was jeopardizing the cases.
“At the Naivasha Law Courts we have 143 criminal cases involving minors and the situation has been worsened by lack of a child protection unit,” she said.
Nzioka said that the society, influence of social media and peer pressure had played a part in the rising criminal cases among the minors.
“It’s our responsibility to protect these minors from the current society which has little room for them, hence the rising number of abuse cases,” she said.
On her part, Naivasha Principal Magistrate Juliana Ndeng’eri, said that of the criminal cases facing the minors, sexual abuse were leading with the numbers on the rise.
She noted that Naivasha, being a transit town, had contributed to the cases of child trafficking with some of the victims being ferried from Congo and Rwanda.
“We have seen a rise in cases of child abuse on the rise and some of the estates like Kihot, KCC, Karagita, Mithuri and Ngondi are leading,” she said.
Ndeng’eri said that Naivasha Law Courts had 143 criminal cases involving minors and called on relatives who had a pending case to come turn up for the cases.
“We are asking well-wishers to assist complete the child protection unit in Naivasha so that we can hasten dispensation of justice mainly when the minors are on holiday,” she said.