In 2013, a Kenyan High Court Decision made legal history for girls’ rights internationally and set the high water mark in protecting girls from rape. The decision was the long fought result of the “160 Girls” project, a legal effort mounted by the Canadian charity the equality effect (e²) in partnership with the Tumaini Girls’ Rescue Centre, at Ripples International, Meru, Kenya. The victory secured access to justice for the 160 Girls that inspired the adoption of the case, and legal protection from rape for all 10,000,000 girls in Kenya.
A critical part of the “160 Girls” Implementation initiative is public legal education work – the equality effect’s research demonstrates that community members currently lack the necessary information about girls’ rights and police obligations relating to rape investigations. Without this information it is virtually impossible for girls and their guardians to hold police accountable for the investigation of rape claims.
Through the “160 Girls” Kenya Public Legal Education initiative community members are receiving much needed education about the “160 Girls” decision, and related equality laws. This new knowledge will empower them to engage with police. It will empower them to demand that the expectations associated with the Court’s “160 Girls” decision relating to police performance and perpetrator accountable are met.
At Simba-Safe Kenya we find “160 Girls” as a valuable resource for parents, teachers, caregivers and custodians of children that can help us tackle sexual crimes in our community not just for the girl child but the boy child as well.
In today’s blog we highlight critical steps to take for the investigation of rape claims for a minor/child.
- Recorded complaint in O.B.
Does the O.B. entry include: identity and description of alleged assailant, time of alleged defilement; location and description of scene of alleged defilement; name of witnesses and suspects.
- Accompany victim to receive medical treatment
Was the victim taken by police to the hospital; record date, name of officer, hospital and physician in file; was the physician advised of all elements of the offence for a thorough exam
- Provide P3 Form and collect medical evidence
Was P3 form provided free of charge; was the completed P3 form obtained; was the sexual evidence kit completed; was the medical evidence submitted to the lab for testing
- Victim interview
Was the interview conducted in a private space; were attempts made to calm and relax the child before the interview; were tools such as dolls, drawings etc used if helpful; insulting or accusatory language avoided;
- Victim statement
Date and time of alleged defilement; identity of suspect(s) and relationship to claimant; description of suspect; location and description of scene; other witnesses; actual description of incident (e.g. record “insertion of penis” as opposed to “tabia mbaya”, which is vague)
- Visit the crime scene and preserve the evidence
Safeguard, survey and cordon the scene; photograph the scene in detail; sketch the scene; search the scene; secure the evidence, including labeling, sealing and safe storage of exhibits and exhibits entered into the exhibit register, ensure chain of custody is intact
- Identify and interview witnesses
Witness statements recorded
- Identify and interview suspects
Identification parade (use photographs as an alternative); collection of forensic evidence e,g.: blood stains, semen, hair), note physical characteristics; suspect statement: caution provided, record statement, keep accused away from claimant at all times
- Compile the police case file
- Evaluate the evidence collected
Have all the ingredients of the offence been met; Before drawing up charges, the officer should be certain that all ingredients of the offence have been met under s. 8 SOA)
- Prefer charges (if it’s believed a conviction can be secured)
- Arrest Accused
Drafting of charges; was a charge sheet prepared
i) The order of completion of these steps could change depending on the reality of the case;
ii) the steps outlined above can happen concurrently, and do not have to happen consecutively.
Information and image courtesy of
The “160 Girls” App can be downloaded on Google Play Store