Report on Gender-Based Violence during the Covid-19 Pandemic Emergency in Kenya
During the Covid - 19 pandemic there has been increased concerns regarding the vulnerability of women and girls in experiencing sexual and gender based violence (SGBV).
To this end, recently President Kenyatta has called for Kenya's National Research Centre to investigate the rising number of SGBV violations and for immediate action to take place against perpetrators. This report responds to this call, by analysing interview data from survivors assessing patterns of SGBV during the pandemic.
In light of current health concerns, Kenya took action by introducing a nightly dusk-to-dawn curfew, school closures and restrictions to road, rail and air movements. This research has found three main impact of the Covid-19 emergency response upon SGBV.
1. Emergency measures are exacerbating the vulnerability of worm and children:
Due to school closures, children (particularly girls) are exposed to violence from neighbours due to a lack of alternative safe venues.
Women are more vulnerable due to social isolation and staying indoors with their abusers.
2. The socio-economic impact of the crisis has increased tensions within households, with reports of physical violence and increased homelessness for women.
3. Vulnerability to violence has been amplified across the population as a whole according to reports by human rights actors, with there being numerous incidents of death and injuries caused by the police while enforcing the COVID-19 emergency measures put into place
The following policy recommendations are offered based on our findings:
1. Ensure that inclusive, integrated, and multisectoral SGBV prevention and protection are central to the Kenyan government’s COVID-19 emergency and recovery plans at the national and subnational levels. Planning needs to include consideration of gender norms and dynamics.
2. Ensure that the protection of all children from sexual and other forms of violence is given utmost consideration in COVID-19 policy and preparedness planning. Children must be able to access alternative safe venues when schools are shut, and have access to SGBV services.
3. Implement real-time data collection and analysis to document SGBV to enable the identification of possible geographic clusters and crimes being perpetrated by the same offenders, and to measure SGBV service accessibility to ensure appropriate support.
Download the report here:
Flowe, H. D., Rockowitz, S., Rockey, J., Kanja, W., Kamau, C., Colloff, M. F., Kauldar, J., Woodhams, J., & Davies, K. (2020, July 28). Sexual and other forms of violence during the Covid-19 pandemic emergency in Kenya: Patterns of violence and impacts on women and girls. Zenodo. http://doi.org/10.5281/zenodo.3964124
Flowe, H. D., Rockowitz, S., Rockey, J., Kanja, W., Kamau, C., Colloff, M. F., Kauldar, J., Woodhams, J., & Davies, K. (2020, July 28). Policy Brief: Patterns of violence and its impact on women and girls amidst the Covid-19 Pandemic in Kenya. Zenodo. http://doi.org/10.5281/zenodo.3964162
This policy brief is based on the findings of a research report exploring the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on patterns of sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV) in Kenya (see http://doi.org/10.5281/zenodo.3964124). The research found patterns of violence were shifting in the wake of Covid-19, and that vulnerability to sexual and other forms of violence were being exacerbated, particularly for girls and women. The following policy recommendations are offered based on the findings: Ensure children have access to alternative safe venues when schools are closed. Ensure government COVID-19 emergency management and recovery plans include alternative emergency routes for accessing SGBV services. Invest in the real-time data collection and analysis of sexual violence and other violations to identify possible geographic clusters and crimes being perpetrated by the same offenders, and to measure SGBV service accessibility to ensure
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Children’s Vulnerability to Sexual Violence during COVID-19 in Kenya:
Recommendations for the Future
This article discusses the latest research that reveals that children seem to be facing new risks of sexual violence in Kenya during the COVID-19 pandemic. Patterns of sex offending against children coinciding with the implementation of lockdowns, curfews, and school closures may be shifting since the pandemic began. In particular, emerging evidence from Kenya suggests that child victims are younger, more likely to be victimized by a neighbor in a private residence, and in the daytime, compared to pre-pandemic. We conclude that situational crime prevention strategies that focus on providing alternative safe venues to reduce offending opportunities must be a central part of a public health approach to reduce children’s vulnerability during crises such as COVID-19.