Policy on Sexual Offences Act ready

September 2, 2008 12:00 am

, NAIROBI, September 2 – A taskforce appointed to formalise a policy on the implementation of the Sexual Offences Act has finalised its report and is due to hand it over to the Attorney General (AG) for gazettement.

The Taskforce Chairperson Lady Justice Joyce Alouch said on Tuesday that the regulations, which assist in the implementation of the Act, have been finalised.

"It protects both girls and boys and also wazees (senior citizens) like us; but you know there are some offences you can commit against girls and not boys because crimes like rape and defilement are crimes of penetration," explained Justice Aluoch.

The team, which was appointed by the Attorney General in March 2007, was mandated to prepare a national policy framework for the effective implementation and administration of the Sexual Offences Act.

In addition, the taskforce will carry out public education awareness and sensitisation campaigns to promote the objectives of the Act, as well as encourage people to report incidents of sexual violence, which are generally under-reported.

In its mandate, the taskforce was expected to submit monthly interim reports and recommendations to the AG plus a final report within one year of its appointment.

The team comprises representatives of key ministries and departments, including the Office of the President, Ministries of Education and Health, the Police, civil society representatives and the Nairobi Women’s Hospital among others.

The team was appointed after concerns were raised as to whether the country’s criminal justice system was well equipped to protect women from gender-based violence.

In 2006, former nominated MP Njoki Ndung’u who spearheaded the ratification of the Act called for a taskforce to come up with a curriculum for training the police, the public administration and the Judiciary on the new law and its application.

She joined child protection lobby groups in arguing that it was not enough to have the law on paper without setting up systems that would ensure its effective implementation.


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