Increasing Divorce Cases among Parents the Main Threat to Children’s Progress
The International Children’s Day celebrations in Garissa shifted the attention to children’s affairs with parents’ divorce revealed to be the main threat among children.
Normally when parents, divorce both share the responsibility to protect their children from abuse and discrimination. However, according to Garissa Township sub-county Children Officer Benjamin Kinyua, divorce cases have steadily increased leaving a trail of children as parents move from one marriage to another.
According to Kinyua, divorce among parents causes psychological suffering among children. Children are also neglected as their mothers leave them behind for other marriages.
“We have to establish frameworks to ensure that these children are taken care of in a good environment to help them to grow and achieve their true potential,” added Kinyua.
Among the challenges affecting children are Female Genital Mutilation (FGM), child marriages, neglect, discrimination and stigmatization of disabled children and online abuse.
Kinyua urged parents, especially parents from Garissa not to solve disputes through Maslah. Maslah is an alternative mechanism of solving disputes practised among the Muslim community. He implored parents to allow criminal cases to be prosecuted in a court of law.
“When a child is defiled, married off early or forced to undergo FGM, these should be reported to the police and allow justice to take its course,” said Kinyua.
According to Kinyua, when elders deliver justice, children tend to get a raw deal. For instance, it is sometimes decided that a certain amount of either money or camels is often demanded which is divided among the elders or given to the parents leaving children suffering.
The children’s office called on residents to report such injustices against children instead of allowing the children to suffer on their own in silence.
It has also been revealed that incidences of Gender-based violence (GBV), child sexual abuse, abandonment of children and child-led families are increasing across the country.
The good news is that now children, as well as adults, can now report the cases anonymously to the National Helpline 116.