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A Review Of The Multi-Disciplinary Approach In Addressing Sexual Violence Against Children In The Criminal Justice System 

Esther N Njuguna (MA – Child Development), International Justice Mission, Kenya | Janice N Muchemi (LLB and Diplaw), International Justice Mission, Kenya


The criminal justice process begins at the time a report is made at a police station. Proper investigations are the foundation of any trial process. Historically, investigations into cases of child sexual violence have been characterized by the lack of specialized investigators, which has led to insensitivity, poor investigations and consequently low conviction rates. The newly formed specialized Child Protection Unit within the Directorate of Criminal Investigations, formed by the Inspector General pursuant to Section 10(1)(h) of the National Police Service Act of 2011, is a positive development that heralds a new era in investigation of child sexual violence cases. The bulk of investigations, however, remain wanting in terms of the trial process. The Kenyan trial process has been historically adversarial. International best practices provide that children must have psychosocial support to mitigate against the effects of the typically traumatic trial process (Cross, Jones, Walsh, Simone, & Kolko, 2007). A key objective of this paper is to highlight how a collaborative, multi-disciplinary approach ensures that any issues arising over the course of the trial, including custody, medical, and psychological needs of the child are met. With this approach, the court hearing the matter can give directions on any issue arising rather than directing a new process to be instituted in the children’s court. This paper posits that a multi-disciplinary approach (MDA) involving investigations, legal representation, and aftercare specialists safeguards the child’s best interest during all stages of the criminal trial process.


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