Simplify mechanisms to deal with rising gender-based violence cases, Policymakers urged

New Faces New Voices- Kenya (NFNV-Kenya) and Women Win have appealed to policymakers to create adequate mechanisms in the 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 organizations 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 in forensic medical knowledge, which causes a negative ripple effect in the current governance framework of the management of these cases across various stakeholders, policymakers, 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 policymakers 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.

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 counselors and police involvement to rapidly respond to cases of GBV.

Lack of comprehensive medical training and knowledge, Dr. Parmar said has contributed to a lack of strategies in offering assistance to victims of rape and sexual abuse. This includes the provision of emergency care such as prophylaxis to prevent Sexually Transmitted Infections (STI) or contraception, counseling 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 a need for political will to bridge the disconnect gap among the various stakeholders for seamless healthcare and legal response.

Cultural practices are also barriers that allow perpetrators to 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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