Busia Woman Representative Florence Mutua has vowed to give another go at the Sexual Offences (Amendment) Bill in the National Assembly in bid to protect children and vulnerable groups in the community.
Attempts by Ms Mutua to table the Bill in 2017 was reportedly shot down by a section of male legislators who voted against it.
Speaking during the launch of the Children Protection Unit (CPU) at Busia Police Station on Saturday, the legislator appealed to male MPs to support the Bill saying it will go along a way in protecting vulnerable groups from sex-related cases that are on an increase in the Country.
The centre was refurbished by the National Government Affirmative Action Fund (NGAAF) in partnership African Network for Prevention and Protection against Children Abuse and Neglect (ANPPCAN) and the Busia County government.
“In the last parliament, I raised a few amendments in the mother Act and the most critical issue that was missing is restricting solving of sex offences out of court.
“Many children have been defiled but the matter is (often) not fully investigated by relevant authorities but resolved prematurely between parents and the perpetrator. This practice denies a child justice while the perpetrator walks scot free,” Mutua said.
The Amendment Bill, which she has relentlessly supported, also provides for re-introduction of sex education in schools as well as creating a special unit of police officers to investigate sexual offences and gender-based violence.
“Many cases have been mishandled by police during the investigations stage. The way they have been interrogating victims, especially those who have been defiled or raped, has instilled fear rather than assurance and hope. Many cases have not been reported for fear of being subjected to ridicule.
“Many culprits are free for lack of evidence or the same is tampered with when victims are told to take bath. With well-equipped CPUs, we will be able to preserve specimens until cases reach conclusive ends,” she added.
Busia Children Director Esther Wasike lauded the initiative saying it opens a new chapter in protection of children and other vulnerable groups from the region.
“We receive at least 10 children every week and four women monthly. With this centre our children will not see police cells again which has been the order of the day. Their basic needs will now be catered for at this centre free from abusive family members,” he said.
County Police Commander Wambua Kitiithi warned that the government will not hesitate to act against those who abuse children.
“It’s unfortunate that children who constitute 48 per cent of the Busia population are subjected to various forms of abuse such as neglect, defilement, early marriages and child trafficking. Let us focus on issues that will uplift children welfare. A parent who abuses a child belongs to prison. We will go out of our way to ensure our children are protected,” he said.