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Fears of domestic violence rise as millions confined over virus

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With families across Europe confined to their homes to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus, fears are rising of a surge in domestic violence.

From Berlin to Paris, Madrid, Rome and Bratislava, associations that help victims of domestic violence have sounded the alarm after Europe overtook China to become the epicentre of the pandemic.

“For many people, their home is already not a safe place,” says the German federal association of women’s counselling centres and helplines (BFF).

But the stress caused by social isolation is exacerbating tensions and increasing “the risk of domestic and sexual violence against women and children”, the association warns.
And the risks are not limited to homes where violence was already a problem before.

On top of the stress caused by confinement, fears around job security and financial difficulties are also increasing the likelihood of conflicts.

“It’s putting a lot of pressure on households,” says Florence Claudepierre, head of the FCPE parents’ federation in the Upper Rhine, a region hit hard by the pandemic in France.

She said she is hearing stories of “parents who are cracking, who can’t carry on” in families that have not previously had any problems.

In China, which is slowly emerging from several weeks of total lockdown, the women’s rights organisation Weiping has reported a threefold increase in reports of violence against women.

In Spain, which has the second-worst outbreak in Europe after Italy, a 35-year-old mother of two was murdered by her partner last week.

– ‘Where can I go?’ –

Elsewhere, help centres have noted a drop in calls for help — which is not necessarily seen as a good sign either.

For children, young people and women who are victims of domestic violence — mental or physical — the current situation means “being constantly available” for abuse by the perpetrator, the German federation stresses.

Decisions to shut down schools, sports clubs and youth centres are important to curb the spread of the virus and prevent hospitals from being overrun, acknowledges Rainer Rettinger, who heads a German child protection association.

But “who is seeing and hearing abused children today?” he asks.

“Now violence, too, has been confined. That’s what we’re afraid of,” says Martine Brousse, head of Parisian organisation La Voix de l’Enfant (The Child’s Voice).

As governments pour billions into their economies and health services, they should “not lose sight of the importance of equality and fundamental human rights,” Beatrice Fresko-Rolfo, the general rapporteur on violence against women for the parliamentary assembly of the Council of Europe, pointed out recently.

Domestic violence associations are facing a double-edged sword: With many social workers having to work from home, they are unable to reach victims; and when people need to be brought to safety, there are often not enough places in the refuges.

“Women have called us and told us they are experiencing violence at home. They are asking: Where can I go?” says Canan Gullu, from Turkey’s federation of women’s organisations.

In Germany, families minister Franziska Giffey has called on municipalities to organise alternative reception facilities if necessary, while neighbouring Austria provides guaranteed places in women’s refuges or the removal of violent family members from quarantined households.

In the countries with the strictest lockdowns, such as Italy, victims are exempt from some of the rules — such as the requirement to carry a document justifying why they are leaving their home — if they need to visit a refuge centre.

“The current situation is unprecedented,” says Adriana Havasova, a psychologist from Bratislava. She hopes the confinement will be limited to two or three weeks.

If it goes on for several months, “I can’t imagine how much more domestic violence could increase,” she warns.

By Nairobi News

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Uhuru hosts 200 MPs at State House

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President Uhuru Kenyatta today at State House, Nairobi chaired a Jubilee Coalition National Assembly Parliamentary Group (PG) meeting in his capacity as the Coalition’s Party Leader.

The meeting was attended by Deputy President Dr William Ruto who is also the Jubilee Coalition’s Deputy Party Leader, Party Secretary General Raphael Tuju and a total of 212 Members of Parliament.

Today’s Parliamentary Group meeting endorsed Hon Justin B Muturi to continue serving as the Speaker of the National Assembly, Hon Moses Cheboi to continue serving as the Deputy Speaker, Hon Adan Duale to continue serving as the Majority Leader in the National Assembly, and Hon Jimmy Angwenyi to continue serving as the Deputy Majority Leader.

Jubilee Secretary General Raphael Tuju makes his remark next to party leader Uhuru Kenyatta and his deputy William Ruto. PHOTO | PSCU

The Parliamentary Group meeting replaced Hon Benjamin Washiali as the Majority Whip with Hon Emmanuel Wangwe. Hon Cecily Mbarire was replaced by Hon Richard Maoka Maore as the Deputy Whip.

Further, the Party Leader appointed Hon Amos Kimunya to serve as the Secretary of the Jubilee Coalition Joint Parliamentary Group.

By Nairobi News

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VIDEO: A TRUE PLACE OF PEACE for the young ones too!

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Amani Ridge the Place of Peace is the place to be for those who seek to settle in a peaceful domicile.

Families are coming here not only to survey the place where they will soon establish their dream homes, but listen this…to enjoy the quietude and take photos too! They come here to take a walk and enjoy the amazing views.

Others just come to appreciate and walk along the walls of Peace, Happiness, Knowledge and Wisdom.

Others still come here to confirm the value additions that are being placed here courtesy of Optiven. Watch this video expounding on this gated community’s architectural projections: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=os3nubny8Vg&t=1s

For the young ones who make their way here, they have a chance to breathe the fresh air, to enjoy the serenity of the open and refreshing skies of these cool Kiambu environs. The young girl captured here can attest to this.

You are free to visit the project and enjoy the Peace as you enjoy the magnificent developments happening at Amani Ridge the Place of Peace

Do you want to be part of Amani Ridge the Place of Peace great experience? Get in touch with Optiven Today:

Contact Optiven Group: 0790 300 300 Email: admin@optiven.co.ke Website: www.optiven.co.ke George Wachiuri Blog: www.georgewachiuri.com
YouTube: https://bit.ly/2VdSuFJ

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Don’t buy land around Ngong Road Forest: KWS

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The Kenya Forest Service is warning Kenyans not to be duped into buying land within Ngong Road Forest around Sunvalley Lang’ata and surrounding areas without verification.

The agency said Kenyans were being swindled of millions of shillings and being sold air, within forest land.

“Much of the land that is purportedly up for sale by crooks there is part of Ngong Forest land which will be reclaimed. It is just a matter of time,” warned KFS Chief Conservator of Forests Julius Kamau on Thursday, “and it will not matter what is on the land, it will eventually revert to the KFS. It won’t matter what sits on the forest land when we come for it. We’ll take all of what belongs to the forest.”

Mr Kamau said the Ngong Road Forest sits on 1,224.4 hectares, but 789 hectares have been grabbed by unscrupulous developers and land racketeers.

However, according to a record given by KFS in 2017, the Ngong Road Forest sat on 2,850 at gazettement, in 1932. Meaning the land continues to be excised.

KFS board chairman Peter Kinyua said some people had acquired titles to the land under forest area fraudulently.

“Anybody sitting on forest land, will have to vacate. Many of the people on those parcels of land there say they have titles but they have titles to what? When was it degazetted, by whom? Because for public land to convert into private land, a parliamentary process to degazette it has to have happened,” Mr Kinyua said, adding that a process was underway to recover the irregularly acquired land.

“Some people have illegally and irregularly erected structures on these 789 hectares. But it remains gazetted as forest land and it has a legal notice and there is no process of degazettement that has been undertaken,” Mr Kamau said.

“Anybody who is in the forest illegally has to vacate. We’re very clear in terms of mapping all the forest areas around the country,” he added.

“And there are Kenyans who’ve actually been doing the right thing by writing to us to establish the status of what they want to acquire against the forest jurisdiction and we give them advice.

“I want to ask Kenyans who are buying in the area around Ngong Road Forest to do serious due diligence before investing millions of shillings. We do not charge for the service. It is absolutely free of charge, so Kenyans should not hesitate to come to us,” advised the conservator.

Investigations by the Nation revealed that a 40 by 60 ft plots are currently going for about Sh12 million. The grabbed land is currently being sold by among other sellers a former MP.

Some of the properties adjacent to Lang’ata police dog unit, are said to sit on the private land that includes about 800 prime homes in Parkview, Sunvalley 1, Sunvalley 2, Kenya Medical Association, Langata View Apartments and St Mary’s Hospital.

Most of the grabbed forest land, initially used as training ground for police dogs, now hosts lavish homes belonging to senior government officials, businessmen and a community.

In 2017, KFS announced that of the 2,850 ha of woodland gazetted in 1932, only 1,224.4 ha was left after some powerful and connected people grabbed almost half of it.

The Nation

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