Inspector General, David Kimaiyo, says they will instead deal ruthlessly with such perpetrators saying that he was concerned that cases of rape and defilement were still on the rise despite the passing and enacting of the Sexual offences Act, over five years ago.
The police boss said such cases were part of the on-going police reforms and assured the public that he had instructed his officers in all the 47 counties to ensure that suspects, whether they were parents of the victim or not, must not be allowed to reconcile with the perpetrators at the expense of the victim.
The police boss cited a recent case where he was informed that a mother of a girl who had been defiled by her own father and had gone to the police station to plead with the prosecuting officer to withdraw the case.
Said the Inspector General: “It is sad to hear that cases of rape and defilement are on the rise despite the Sexual Offences Act being in operation. It is sad that the public are aware of the consequences of violating it but are not as active in fighting it as we expect.”
He further said that “I know of a case which was reported in one of our police stations where the mother of a girl who was defiled went to the police station and pleaded with the OCS (Officer Commanding Station) to release her husband so that they could go home and reconcile.”
Tough-talking Inspector General said the National Police Service Act was very clear that under the new Constitution sexual offences were between the State and the suspects and therefore the parties could not just meet behind the scene and say they have reconciled.
Kimaiyo, who addressing editors at a special forum to discuss the rising cases of crime in the country, said the only cases that could be settled out of court between parties were personal ones like assault, among others.
During the forum, the Inspector General was flanked by one of his deputies, Grace Kaindi, the Director of Criminal Investigations, Ndegwa Muhoro, and the chairman of the Kenya Editors’ Guild, Macharia Gaitho, who is an editor at Nation Media Group, among others.
The police boss said the gender desks set up in most police stations were there to help deal with cases of Gender Based Violence that have also been on the rise in the past few years. He directed his officers to deal firmly with GBV cases in urban and rural areas, saying most of the victims were women and children, who were vulnerable.
Other major reforms include: Establishment of the Kenya Association of Women in Policing to support female officer’s professional development and networking. This is the first time this has been allowed; and development of a gender and human rights policy for the National Police Service.
But in his address, the KEG chairman took issue with the police for not doing enough as far as dealing with the rising cases of crime in general, and cited terrorism, car-jacking, road carnage, sexual offences and Gender-Based Violence cases.
Earlier during the question and answer session, Dorothy Kweyo, an editor at Nation Media Group, had expressed concern that the police were not doing enough as far as rising cases of rape, defilement and child marriages were concerned.
She said there were many GBV and sexual offences cases pending in court which were frustrating the victims and their relatives because of bureaucracy, corruption and or incompetence.
In his response, Kimaiyo said: “All court orders must be executed by the police, who are the law enforcers. It is not a request. All cases falling under the Sexual Offences Act fall under the state versus the suspect and the complainant cannot just withdraw the charges. We do not promote cash reconciliation arrangements.”
Indeed, a report by Gender Violence Recovery Centre says that sexual abuse is the most commonly reported form of abuse suffered by victims. Between 2011 and 2012, of all the cases reported, 2,532 were sexual and 422 physical violence, and of these 90 per cent of all reported cases of gender violence were reported by women and girls; and only 10 per cent by men and boys.
Sexual abuse the GVRC report says is the most commonly reported form of abuse suffered by victims. Between 2011 and 2012, of all the cases reported 2,532 were sexual and 422 physical violence, and of these 90 per cent of all reported cases of gender violence are reported by women and girls, 10 per cent by men or boys.
“Women and girls bore the greatest burden of pain and suffering”, says Grace Wangechi GVRC Executive Director regarding the report’s findings.
According to statistics from the GVRC, 45 per cent of women between ages 15 – 49 in Kenya have experienced either physical or sexual violence with women and girls accounting for 90 per cent of the gender based violence (GBV) cases reported.
Similarly, one in five Kenyan women (21 per cent) has experienced sexual violence; strangers account for only six per cent of GBV in Kenya while 64 per cent of survivors of violence reported that the offenders behind their ordeal were known to them.
The report also showed that most violence towards women was committed by an intimate partner; and that 90 per cent of reported perpetrators were men.
Meanwhile, the report revealed that cases of violence among men and boys were said to be relatively low although this may be because most of them go unreported mainly out of fear of ridicule and stigmatisation.
In his address, the Inspector general appealed to the public to treat the police as partners but not adversaries by reporting suspects and crimes within their neighbourhoods. He assured the public that the police service was committed to promoting reforms to deliver better and effectively service them.
“When an offence has been committed, please do not keep quite, report it so that we can take action. That is part of the many reforms envisioned by the National Police Service,” Kimaiyo said.
This article was originally published in the Reject Issue 97.