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POLICARE has been coined from two English words: “POLICE” and “CARES”. POLICARE is a National Police Service (NPS) integrated response to Sexual and Gender Based Violence (SGBV) in Kenya. It is designed as a multi- agency victim cantered “ONE STOP CENTER” service provider. The service providers will include and not limited to Police, Forensic investigators, Health providers, Psychologists, DPP representative, a Magistrate on call, Medical-legal, Gender experts, Correctional personnel among others under all under one roof.

 POLICARE overall objective is to strengthen the capacity of NPS to prevent and respond to SGBV cases through establishment of a ONE STOP victim support centre incorporating the synergy of multi agencies.

In 1993, the UN Declaration on the Elimination of Violence against Women offered the first official definition of gender-based violence Sexual and Gender based Violence, the term refers to any harmful act that is perpetrated against one person’s will and that is based on socially ascribed (gender) differences in roles between males and females. It includes acts that inflict physical, mental, or sexual harm or suffering, threats of such acts, coercion and other deprivations of liberty, whether occurring in public or in private life.

 Sexual and gender-based violence does not only occur during times of national strife; it is rampant even where legal systems and institutions are working. Many different societies and their legal systems have grappled with the problem of SGBV for decades including Kenya.

The constitution of Kenya as the supreme law on the land, mandates the state and the public officers to address the need of vulnerable groups within the society including women, older members of the society, persons with disabilities, children, youth, members of minorities or marginalized communities and members of particular ethnic, religious or cultural community. It places the state and its organs and public officers the duty to ensure that the bill of rights is followed to the letter. It also requires the state to enact and implement legislation to fulfil its international obligations in respect of human rights and fundamental freedoms.

The present SGBV protection environment in Kenya is fraught with challenges and filled with opportunities, which should be carefully considered when devising responses. Whereas the Kenyan legal framework provides a mechanism for addressing SGBV, the levels to which the frameworks respond to the plight of the survivors of SGBV is debatable. The legal and policy framework mostly focuses on bringing of the accused person to ‘justice’ without a corresponding obligation of alleviating the conditions of the survivor of SGBV. In fact, the survivor of SGBV is more of an alien to the criminal justice system because the offence is perceived by the system to have been committed against the state, not against the survivor of the SGBV as an individual.

According to Dr. Ruth Aura on Situational Analysis and the Legal Framework on Sexual and Gender-Based Violence in Kenya, she argues that Despite the amendment of Section 38 of the Sexual Offences Act, before amendment, provided that: "Any person who makes false allegations against another person to the effect that the person has committed an offence under this Act is guilty of an offence and shall be liable to punishment equal to that for the offence complained of.” The effect of this section was to make it hard for victims of sexual abuse from coming forward to report cases of SGBV.

The amendment of this section was since seen as a major achievement in advancement of women’s rights in the fight against SGBV but we still have cases underreported according to National Crime center report 2017. According to various crime reports, surveys and rapid assessments, social media, IPOA, documentaries and dailies, women and girls, Men and Boys, have continued to face tremendous violence including rape and murder within their communities or, and other places where they have sought shelter, including hospitals and churches.

 Victims narratives, statements, documentaries, situational reports and analysis demonstrates a myriads of unexplainable psycho-traumatic pain that victim experience through the mechanisms from time incident takes place to the conclusion or non-closure of the matter. After the initial report the victim has to repeat same ogre to a number of actors (family, police, nurse, doctor, police surgeon, lab technician, witness, court…) among others. This re-traumatizes the victim, and when the justice is delayed, evidence inadmissible, threats by perpetrator, interference the victims gives up pursuance, allowing perpetrator another chance to commit another crime. Other most prevalent and underreported form of SGBV is Intimae Partner Violence, (IPV) Marital and spousal abuse, and Incest due to cultural aspects and crime happening within close relations and family set-up. POLICARE intends to make it easier for these victims to report these too.

End effects on is trauma, low self -confidence, low self -esteem, drug abuse, suicidal instincts, involvement in crime ,and most currently femicide is on the rise. This has resulted to complaints against police, judiciary and other service providers as inefficient and unable to respond to plight of the victims. It has badly injured the face and relationship between police and public. Victims experience has resulted to underreporting of SGBV which according to research does not necessarily mean that this crime is not happening, on the contrary it’s most prevalent. It’s our duty to recheck the interplay and/ or friction between the service provider and service recipient (victim). The POLICARE Concept is a significant step towards addressing, responding and managing SGBV in the country. In the spirit of community policing, we seek to foster and promote relationship with broader society, given that we all work within this space, synergy and complementarity continue to amplify our work and impact. This concept paper seeks to initiate an NPS integrated responsive mechanism to complement legal policy guidelines framework that are in place through establishment of ONE-STOP CENTER and provide the missing link to efficiency and effectiveness of service delivery to the public.

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Kenya Police Headquarters,

Vigilance House, Harambee Avenue,
PO BOX 30083,
Nairobi, Kenya.
Telephone: (020) 341411/6/8