State launches guidelines for violence centres
The government has launched guidelines to standardise establishment of Gender Based Violence Recovery Centres (GBVRCs) in all health facilities.
According to Public Service and Gender Affairs Cabinet Secretary Prof Margaret Kobia, a successful implementation of the guidelines will enhance response to GBV services.
“The centres will also accord affordable healthcare, enhancing access to justice for survivors of GBV thereby ensuring delivery of desirable outcomes for women, men, girls and boys,” she said.
In a statement read on her behalf by PS Collette Suda during the launch of 16 days of activism on gender based violence yesterday, Kobia said Nairobi, Kakamega, Kisumu, Nakuru and Kiambu are leading in gender-based violence cases.
“Reporting of GBV cases is minimal in Isiolo, Samburu, Tharaka-Nithi, Garissa and Marsabit,” she said.
Prof Kobia said since the Covid-19 outbreak, the national GBV helpline 1195 has registered a steady increase of GBV cases by 55 per cent.
The ministry, through the State Department for Gender in partnership with Healthcare Assistance Kenya, operates a 24-hour toll free helpline that supports survivors of GBV to receive online counseling and referrals for medical and legal services.
To address the issues of GBV, Prof Kobia said various initiatives have also been taken to deal with Gender Based Violence in Kenya. Examples of these include the establishment of Gender Desks in police stations.
“There has been capacity building on GBV, establishment of toll free GBV hotlines such as 1195, establishment of Gender Violence Recovery Centres and rescue homes as well as advocacy campaigns against GBV,” she said.
She noted that the Cabinet approved an Inter- Agency Programme on Gender Based Violence.
“The programme underscores the importance of a multi- sectoral approach in ending GBV,” she added.
Kobia said one-stop GBVRCs will be established in counties in collaboration with health institutions.
She said according to the Constitution, health is a devolved function thus requiring the national and county governments to work together.
“Key considerations to be taken into account in the establishment of GBVRCs is for a survivor centered approach to be applied,” she said.
Guidelines also provide for the infrastructure, equipment and supplies to be provided in GBVRC.
It also provides for all hospital staff to be adequately trained in GBV for appropriate medical response.
A designated staff member will be required to work at the GBVRC to offer services on a 24-hour basis.
Kobia said GBVRC will be integrated in the hospital to ensure common use of facilities such as laboratory, wards, counseling facilities among others.
She said ending Gender Based Violence is a the government’s key priority.
According to statistics from Kenya Demographic Health Survey 2014, about 43 per cent of married women have experienced sexual violence.