- They said more significant priority requires the Ministry's urgent attention and action to address sexual violence.
- Moreover, Policare is yet to be fully implemented so that survivors can access the valuable services that the unit purports to provide.
A number of civil society groups working on ending sexual violence are calling on the Ministry of Interior to set up a Sex Crimes Unit.
The groups, consisting of Wangu Kanja Foundation, Centre for Rights Education and Awareness (CREAW) Kenya and eight others want sexual violence to be prioristised.
They issued a statement on Monday following the recent unveiling of the Water Police Unit by Interior CS Kithure Kindiki.
"We acknowledge that water is a critical resource that supports livelihoods and its availability or lack thereof has a direct impact on women's safety and security," they said.
This, they said, is cognisant of the fact that women and girls are the most tasked with the responsibility of looking for water.
"It is our expectation that the new police unit will prioritise the needs of women and girls and safeguard them from further exploitation and abuse in the quest to find water," they said.
However, they added, more significant priority requires the Ministry's urgent attention and action to address sexual violence.
"According to the latest KDHS report of 2022, 13 per cent of women reported that they had experienced sexual violence at some point in their lives, 7 per cent said they had experienced it in the last 12 months," they said.
They said that although the Police had made great strides in the past two years in providing dignified service delivery to survivors of sexual violence, including the establishment of Policare, more needs to be done.
Policare was expected to fill in the gaps in the Kenyan legal framework in addressing sexual violence.
"Unfortunately, Policare is yet to be fully implemented so that survivors can access the valuable services that the unit purports to provide," they said.
They called on the Ministry to FastTrack the roll-out of Policare and allocate adequate resources towards police efforts to protect women and girls from sexual violence and subsequent access to justice.