Sexual abuse of children: a study of primary school pupils in Nakuru municipality, Kenya
Githinji, Peris Wanjiru
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The problem of sexual exploitation of children has become a major global concern. In the recent past, cases of sexual abuse among children have increased in Kenya. The aim of this study was to determine the prevalence, knowledge, forms, effects and remedial measures of child sexual abuse among primary school pupils in Nakuru Municipality. A cross-sectional research design, involving a multistage cluster sampling technique, was used to get 259 pupils from six primary schools in Nakuru Municipality. A researcher administered questionnaire was used to collect the data. The study also involved the review of occurrence books at Bondeni and Central police stations in Nakuru from the year 2001 to 2003. The researcher interviewed the officers in charge of the stations and student counsellors of the selected schools. For data analysis, SPSS statistical computer package was used. Descriptive analysis was applied to determine the nature of child sexual abuse. Dependence relationship between child sexual abuse and possible explanatory factors were analyzed using chi-square test of independence. The findings of the study indicated that the prevalence of child sexual abuse among primary school pupils in the municipality was 47%. Half of the abused children were boys. The study showed the most forms of child sexual abuse are rape with 74(60.6%) cases followed by incest 44(36%). The study revealed that child sexual abuse mainly occurred in home settings by people known to the children with neighbours ranking the highest perpetrators of rape and cousins as the highest perpetrators of incest. The findings of this study showed no significant relationship between gender and child sexual abuse (XI = 0.035 df=1, P =.852). There was significant association established between the prevalence of child sexual abuse and variables such as residential areas of respondents (x2 =286.0 df=35, P =.000), availability of parents in the families of respondents (x2 = 556.7 df=5, P =.000), knowledge levels on child sexual abuse of the respondents (X2 =138.884 df=46, P =.000) and working status of parents of the children (x2 =192.0 df=l, P =.000). There were relatively more cases of child sexual abuse in residential of low income earners, pupils with single and working parents and with low knowledge on sexual abuse. The study further showed that some of the sexually abused children suffered negative health effects after the abuse such as physical injuries which were reported by 18% of the abused children, sexually transmitted infections which were reported by 12% and child pregnancy reported by 6% of the abused respondents. Out of the 122 cases reported by the pupils, only 25% of them reported the abuse to their parents. This implied poor response in reporting to prevent reoccurrence. No cases were reported to school authorities and only 13.9% were reported to the police stations from the pupils. None reporting of cases, long court process and lenient sentence on offenders hindered prevention measures both in schools and police stations. The study concluded that the child sexual abuse is a public issue in the municipality. The study recommends the need to address child sexual abuse within the municipality as a public health policy issue. Further, there is need to train pupils on all aspects of child sexual abuse and also institute reforms in schools and police stations that would encourage reporting of child sexual abuse.