Social worker allegedly impregnates minor seeking help

A girl has allegedly been raped and impregnated by social worker assigned to support her after she was raped and fell pregnant at just 14.

25 October 2021 | Crime

Kenya Kambowe







RUNDU

A 42-year-old social worker was arrested last week, accused of raping and impregnating a 16-year-old girl who was assigned into his care after she was raped, fell pregnant and gave birth at just 14.

The girl is now pregnant with her second child.

Markus Nairenge Kaundu was released on N$5 000 bail after his first appearance before Magistrate Barry Mufana at the Kahenge Periodic Court on Wednesday, the day after his arrest last week.

The victim’s guardian did not object to bail being granted.

According to a preliminary police investigation, Kaundu, a gender ministry social worker based at Nkurenkuru in the Kavango West Region, raped the victim between November 2020 and May this year.

Kaundu met the victim after she was referred to him for counselling when she became pregnant, after being raped by another unknown perpetrator, at the age of 14.

The matter was reported in August and following police investigations, Kaundu was arrested last Tuesday in Nkurenkuru. The case has been postponed to 12 January 2022.

The victim is from Mutengo village.

According to the police, Kaundu denied the allegations.

A national crisis

Veronica Theron, gender and protection child protection specialist within the Office of the First Lady, yesterday said “child rape in Namibia remains a national crisis, but is not treated as such”.

She said in the case of the minor in question, if the allegations are true, urgent interventions for her well-being should be made.

“The multiple trauma and long-term effects of the alleged abuse and exploitation should be considered and the child concerned should get priority attention from someone she can trust. “Apart from psychosocial support, the child should be properly prepared for court proceedings to minimise the secondary trauma this may cause.”

She said the gender ministry must act as a matter of urgency in the interest of the child, and conduct a thorough assessment of the girl’s overall needs as a survivor, and the allocation of an experienced case worker should be prioritised.

Theron underlined that in a majority of child rape cases in Namibia, perpetrators are known to the victims, and use their positions of trust to “prey on innocent, vulnerable children”.

She said persons entrusted to care for vulnerable minors often take advantage of their position of trust. They might ask for sexual favours in return for assisting minors financially.

Theron condemned the alleged abuse and rape of the minor, adding that “social work is seen as a helping profession, it’s where we refer children at risk and children in need of protection”.

She underlined that those appointed to work with children need to be extensively vetted before recruitment, especially as they are placed to work with vulnerable persons.

Raped by brother

Meanwhile, Namibian Sun on Friday reported that 554 learners from schools in Kavango West fell pregnant in 2020, of which the youngest is 12.

On Sunday, the Namibian police announced that four rape cases involving minor girls were reported over the weekend, including a case in which a 12-year-old girl was allegedly raped by her brother.

Another case involved a 10-year-old victim, and the third involved two girls, aged 16 and 17, who were raped by two men.

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