Kenyan legal foundation seeks to protect children from online abuse

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The Cradle, a foundation for Kenyan children, is helping kids fight back online perpetrators by filing a suit against them.

The Kenya constitution and Children’s act CAP 141 deal with the protection of children from all forms of abuse, neglect, violence, sexual exploitation and maltreatment. It also addresses the protection of children through self-regulatory initiatives to promote the use of parental controls and filters on devices and platforms, complemented by the development of advisory classification and labeling schemes.

“We promote justice for children,” said Ruth Gachanja, a lawyer at the Cradle foundation. “We handle cases such as online abuse, in a year we handle over a thousand cases."

The foundation operates under five programs; the Legal Aid Program is the core program of the organization. "Here we provide legal aid and advice to the children and the parents regarding a case. We work with the police to ensure that evidence is collected and the perpetrators are identified and charged.

“Other than legal advice, we also provide counseling to the children before the case is taken to court, all through the court proceedings and after the verdict has been read.

“For children that are in conflict with the law we offer them counseling and we teach them why cyber bullying is wrong. We also take up their cases and defend them until the verdict is read.”

Cradle foundation also has a child’s desk and a Teddy-Bear clinic where they deal with child protection cases and family law matters.

Another program is the Policy and Legistaltive Advocacy program where they ensure that the legislative and policy framework conforms to international standards by ensuring that it is child-friendly.
Then there is the Research,  monitoring and documentation program. "Under this program, we study children's cases from around the world and compare them to ours," said Ruth. "We are undertaking activities such as The Gender Parity and Access to Education Study and The UN Study on Violence Against Children."
The fourth program is the Child right’s awareness. Here they educate children parents and the police on children's rights according to the Kenyan constitution before we take up a case.
The Networking and advocacy program involves all of  the other four programs. "We host the Juvenile Justice Network and the Regional Africa Juvenile Justice Network and are members of different world networks that protect the rights of children," said Ruth.
The organisation not only protects children from online abuse but also other cases .All their legal services are free

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