Kenya tackles teacher sex abuse

Some of the more than 1,000 teachers dismissed in last two years now facing trial.

    More than 1,000 school teachers have been sacked in Kenya for allegedly sexually abusing their female students in the last two years, officials say.

    The teachers were sacked for abuses ranging from inappropriate behaviour, which includes kissing or touching, to sexual intercourse, which in some cases has resulted in pregancies.

    Most of the victims were aged between 12 and 15, according to Ahmed Hussein, a senior government official.  

    The wide scale of abuse was brought to light after the government set up a nationwide toll-free helpline.

    Information fed to authorities from the calls led to the dismissal of 600 male teachers last year and 550 more this year.

    But for many of the victims the sackings were not enough and they have sought legal redress over the abuse.

    Al Jazeera's Catherine Soi spoke to the family of 14-year-old who was impregnated by her teacher and is now trying to take her case to court to demand much needed financial support for the four-month old baby.

    But according to Irene Nyamu, an employee at Child Line Kenya, although some perpetrators have been prosecuted and sentenced accordingly, the process tends to be long and frustrating. 

    "Sometimes we have cases where a child has been defiled. Their cases take two to three years to reach a court. Adjournments are made every few weeks," she said.

    "It is very frustrating for a parent who has to travel a distance to get to court and then be told the matter has been postponed."

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera & agencies


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