Kakamega County Gives Free Legal Services To Gender Based Violence Survivors To Ensure Timely Access To Justice
The County Government of Kakamega is offering pro bono legal services to Sexual and Gender-Based Violence (SGBV) survivors from all sub-counties irrespective of their gender. The County aims to fight SGBV by taking legal actions to those involved in the illegal acts and offering free legal services for survivors who cannot afford lawyers. With SGBV desks in the County hospitals and legal offices in the shelters, the County gets information on the cases immediately. Civic education has been carried out in all clinics to sensitize staff on the importance of reporting rape cases and avoiding tampering with the evidence before investigations are carried out. According to the County Department of Health, in 2021, over 500 children aged between 10 and 14 years were pregnant, while the total number of teenage mothers was 14,768. These teenagers, mostly girls, are survivors of sexual abuse.
Kakamega County Government has allocated KSh25 million to set up and equip more rescue centres in different parts of the County, to help survivors stay safe as they wait for the legal processes. The cost of legal services in the County has led to 198 unsolved cases, hence increasing the number of GBV survivors. With help from the Judiciary and the Directorate of Criminal Investigation, rape cases are fully investigated to help in the process of justice. Previously, cases would be settled outside court and parents would refuse to pursue legal processes due to cost implications. Witnesses of sexual abuse cases would not show up in court because that meant paying bus fare from their homes to the legal offices. With this initiative, the County investigates the case and represents the survivors in court without asking for any payment.