Absence of legal framework derailing Fight against GBV

New Faces New Voices- Kenya (NFNV-Kenya) and Women Win have appealed to policy makers to create adequate mechanisms in governance framework in a bid to have a workable infrastructure that provides rapid response to victims of Gender-Based Violence (GBV).

Limited or lack of coordination of stakeholders from government and civil society organisations working on GBV cases is one of the missing links that derail the effective response in addressing the rising cases of GBV across the country.

NFNV Champion and Forensics Expert Dr. Myrna Kalsi said the healthcare ecosystem for GBV is deficient of forensic medical knowledge, which causes a negative ripple effect in the current governance framework of the management of these cases across various stakeholders, policy makers and the beneficiaries of the system.

“The current governance framework for the management of GBV is weak. The current governance infrastructure is not appropriate for the generation of relevant data in GBV for the development of a continuum in assessing the gender impact in GBV cases,” said Dr. Kalsi.

While echoing her statement, Vunja Kimya Founder Dr. Kizzie Shako added that proper and adequate mechanisms with the policy makers when investigating cases of GBV is key in winning the fight against rampant cases of GBV, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Demand for safe-houses was brought to the fore during the Covid-19 period, not only for girls but also for boys. Generally, we desperately need safe-houses for GBV victims everywhere across the country. This will also provide a platform for rehabilitation targeting perpetrators and offer assistance to victims pursuing justice,” reiterated Dr. Shako.

Multiple Sclerosis Association of Kenya cutting a cake to honour their caregivers. an afternoon on discussions about improving awareness of MS and how governance systems can better support persons with disability in Kenya.

The experts were speaking during a brainstorming virtual Knowledge Exchange session dubbed Missing Links: Healthcare response in Managing GBV that deliberated on considerations for good governance in health.

Kenyatta University Teaching and Referral Hospital (KUTTRH) Dr. Deepak Parmar said a multi-sectorial approach is required in sensitizing nurses, doctors, and trauma counsellors and police involvement to rapidly respond to cases of GBV.

Lack of comprehensive medical training and knowledge, Dr. Parmar said has contributed to lack of strategies in offering assistance to victims of rape and sexual abuse. This includes provision of emergency care such as prophylaxis to prevent Sexually Transmitted Infections (STI) or contraception, counselling from high risk situations of suicide or emotional distress and the right reporting forums.

In her remarks, Collaborative Centre for Gender Development (CCGD) Sexual and Gender Based Violence Mitigation Programmes Coordinator Milka Kariuki said despite the government pledging the fight against cases of GBV, there is need for political will to bridge the disconnect gap among the various stakeholders for a seamless healthcare and legal response.

Cultural practices are also barriers that allow perpetrators go scot free, leaving the victims traumatized and suffering from stigma. It is time we addressed such issues which will be a success when all stakeholders work together.

Facilitated by New Faces New Voices- Kenya (NFNV-Kenya) in conjunction with Women Win, the Knowledge Exchange virtual session is part of a series that brings on board key industry players to deliberate on considerations for good governance in health aimed at pushing for implementing national policies to curb rising cases of gender based violence. The second Knowledge Exchange session will focus on ‘Steps towards good governance in mental health’.

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