Monday, 23 November 2015 18:44

Global research reveals Kenyan children feel safer in school than at home Featured

Written by Carolyne Oyugi

Kenyan media has been filled by many reports of children being abused around the country. The abuses range from sexual, physical and psychological. In some extreme cases they have died in the hands of those who are supposed to protect them despite the laws and policies that have been put in place both at national and international levels.

 

As if to confirm all these sad news, Child Fund Kenya has released a report that reveals a very sad state of affairs. According to the report, one in every two children in Kenya and in other developing countries is not safe.

The survey dubbed Free from Violence Global Survey by ChildFund Alliance reveals that children feel safer at school than at home.

The research done globally and with 6,000 children between ages 10 to 12 surveyed in 44 countries indicates that safety of children in homes is no longer automatic. In Kenya, the survey was done in the counties of Kajiado, Kisumu, Nakuru and Samburu in the month of July, this year.

Those interviewed were 100 boys and girls, aged between 10 and 12 years. More than 66 percent of children surveyed revealed that they feel unsafe walking alone and that they are usually at risk of being abused or mistreated. This was followed by 58 percent who feel that they do not feel safe at home.

 This is contrary to 89 percent which translated into nine out of 10 children in America who said that they feel safe walking in their neighbourhoods and parks. However, 64 percent of them said that they feel unsafe online.

These findings are coming out barely two months after the United Nations made protecting children against violence a global priority. Almost half of young children in developing countries say that they believe that children are not safe in their own homes.

“Governments around the world have collectively committed to protecting children against violence through the post-2015 Development Framework known as the Sustainable Development Goals, which were adopted last September,” says Anne Lynam Goddard, President and Chief Executive Officer ChildFund International. She notes: “The results of this survey illuminate how children see the dangers that confront their generation.”

According to Goddard, while many children are exposed to various forms of despicable violence — forced hazardous labour, sexual trafficking and abductions — their safety is regularly threatened in places they should feel the most secure: at home and in school. Therefore, these findings serve as a pointed reminder of the extent of the commitment that must be made to keep children safe.

This year’s survey results reflect significant variation among the disparate nations. In Guinea, for example, only four percent of children say they are at risk of harm at home, while in Togo, 94 percent of children say they are unsafe at home.

One in three 32 percent of American children agree with the emphasis on passing and/ or enforcing laws that will more effectively protect them. In Afghanistan, one in three children — 32 percent — say that if they were their country’s leader they would require that children finish their education. Thirty-nine percent of Vietnamese children say they would discourage bad behaviour while exemplifying good behaviour.

 The survey also reveals that children believe adults, especially parents and caregivers, are capable of keeping them safe. However, children from developing nations have a largely different opinion.

In Kenya, many were in agreement that the most important thing was that adults should love children more while 25 per cent said adults should report cases of harm against children to local authorities.

When asked for their insights as to why they believe adults mistreat children, the children in developing nations are split as to the primary reason with 40 per cent saying it is because “adults have power” and 35 percent attribute it to being the ‘child’s fault’. Similarly, 32 per cent cite ‘punishment’ as being behind the abuse.

When asked what they would do to better protect children if they were the leader of their country, one in five children (22%) in developing countries say they would punish the abusers/send them to prison while 20 percent say they would pass, strengthen or better enforce laws designed to protect children. In Kenya, 44 percent say that being in school makes them feel safe from mistreatment.

 

“This sixth annual survey reminds us of the honesty and clarity in how children see the world around them,” Goddard observes. “These truths often point to the areas that most need our attention.”

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