The Star (Kenya)

Bill locks sex of­fend­ers out of state and pri­vate sec­tor jobs

Pro­posal by Wa­mu­chomba sets Sh1m fine for em­ploy­ers in de­fault

- MOSES ODHIAMBO Crime · Society · Discrimination · Sexual Abuse · Human Rights · Violence and Abuse

Hir­ing a sex pest or any per­son with a his­tory of com­mit­ting a sex­ual of­fence will cost you a fine of Sh1 mil­lion or three years in jail as an em­ployer. e pro­posed stiff penal­ties are con­tained in the Sex­ual Of­fences (Amend­ment) Bill, 2020.

Hir­ing a sex pest or any per­son with his­tory of com­mit­ting a sex­ual of­fence will cost you a fine of Sh1 mil­lion or three years in jail as an em­ployer.

The pro­posed stiff penal­ties are con­tained in the Sex­ual Of­fences (Amend­ment) Bill, 2020 spon­sored by Ki­ambu Woman MP Gathoni Wa­mu­chomba.

The law would ap­ply to teach­ers, so­cial work­ers, health work­ers, pris­ons of­fi­cers or any other per­sons whose jobs in­volve car­ing for other per­sons, han­dling chil­dren or any vul­ner­a­ble per­son.

Any em­ployer – pri­vate and pub­lic – will have to con­firm that a per­son seek­ing em­ploy­ment at their in­sti­tu­tions has not been charged or con­victed of a sex­ual of­fence.

“An em­ployer who know­ingly em­ploys a con­victed sex­ual of­fender in a po­si­tion of care or ac­cess to chil­dren or any vul­ner­a­ble per­son com­mits an of­fence and is li­able upon con­vic­tion to im­pris­on­ment for a term not ex­ceed­ing three years or to fine not ex­ceed­ing Sh1 mil­lion or both,” the Bill which is due for sec­ond read­ing states.

Sex­ual of­fences re­main a con­cern in both pri­vate and pub­lic sec­tors. A month ago, a po­lice officer was ar­rested on charges of sex­u­ally as­sault­ing a Covid-19 pa­tient.

Chief Jus­tice David Maraga in April re­vealed that the cases con­sti­tute 35 per cent of crim­i­nal mat­ters be­fore court. Most cases col­lapse for lack of ev­i­dence – lost or tam­pered with.

Health­care pro­fes­sions, should Par­lia­ment en­act the law, would thus be re­quired to use sex­ual as­sault ex­am­i­na­tion kits fit­ted with track­ing de­vices.

The Bill seeks to pro­vide for a pro­ce­dure for col­lec­tion, anal­y­sis, track­ing and ac­cess to ev­i­dence for use in pros­e­cut­ing sex­ual as­sault.

Wa­mu­chomba seeks that sur­vivors be ex­am­ined for free, mean­ing the state would shoul­der the costs re­lated to the prepa­ra­tion of the test kits.

“The state shall bear all costs in­curred for the ex­am­i­na­tion of a vic­tim of sex­ual as­sault for the pur­pose of gath­er­ing ev­i­dence,” the Bill reads.

Ex­penses re­lated to pre­par­ing the sex­ual ex­am­i­na­tion kit as well as con­duct­ing STI and preg­nancy tests on the vic­tim will be met by the gov­ern­ment, as per the pro­posal.

The Bill pro­poses the de­vel­op­ment of an elec­tronic sex­ual as­sault foren­sic ev­i­dence track­ing sys­tem for real-time ac­cess to lo­ca­tion of test kits.

The new sys­tem, Wa­mu­chomba says, is to guard against loss of ev­i­dence which is blamed for the col­lapse of most sex­ual of­fences cases.

The In­spec­tor Gen­eral of Po­lice will — within six months of the law com­ing into force — be re­quired to de­velop the track­ing sys­tem.

It will link up health­care fa­cil­i­ties, des­ig­nated foren­sic lab­o­ra­to­ries where the kits are an­a­lysed, and law en­force­ment agen­cies.

“The sys­tem must al­low a vic­tim of sex­ual as­sault to anony­mously track and re­ceive up­dates re­gard­ing the sta­tus and lo­ca­tion of his or her kit,” Wa­mu­chomba says in the Bill’s mem­o­ran­dum.

Records re­lat­ing to the ev­i­dence, the Bill reads, will be ac­cessed by a survivor from whom the ev­i­dence was col­lected; their par­ents or guardian — for mi­nors.

 ?? /JACK OWUOR ?? Ki­ambu Woman Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Muthoni Wa­mu­chomba on Septem­ber 25, 2018
/JACK OWUOR Ki­ambu Woman Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Muthoni Wa­mu­chomba on Septem­ber 25, 2018
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