The debate to amend the sexual offences act is raging on, particularly the proposal to lower the sexual consent from 18 to 16 years of age.
Justice Njoki Ndung’u warns that such amendments will expose children to significant risk and derail the gains achieved by the 2006 act.
Speaking during a consultative meeting organised by the Community Advocacy and Awareness Trust (CRAWN) in Nairobi, Njoki stated that proponent of suggestions to amend the act should consider that they will undo a well thought out process that is protecting children and Kenyans.
Many speakers at the forum expressed concerns that lowering the age of sexual consent are because many Kenyans don’t understand the sexual offences act and the consequences of amending it.
According to a report released by CRAWN, many Kenyans can’t interpret the act and lack adequate education on sex.
But according Justice Njoki, the act has been misinterpreted because many people are spreading false information that criminal justice is unfairly targeting boys who commit sexual offences.
She further stated that offenders under 18 years of age are not sentenced to maximum sentence but are usually sentenced under children’s act or borstal institutions act , they are sentenced to a maximum three years.
Some children offenders even receive less than the maximum three years which mostly include counselling and probation.
She also stated that a fact check by her office has revealed that no Kenyan prison is holding inmates below 18 years of age.
She strongly dismissed the widespread notion that young men are rotting prisons for sexual offences arguing that the law does not recognise ‘young men’ but children and adults.