Home Law International Handbook of Juvenile Justice
Lack of Resources
When children are abandoned, the police budget is so small that there is little left for taking care of children. One police woman intimated that she often takes such children to her home in the interim and feeds them using her own scarce resources. It is worse when children are very young and require supplies like baby food. When the police cannot pass on these children immediately to foster homes, the burden falls on the police officers manning the unit. There are some instances where the police receive battered mother and children. In such situations, the battered mother has nowhere to go but the police cannot take care of the mother either. If police cannot provide basic necessaries like food, shelter and medical care, it compromises the purpose for which the units were created. Some victims escape from police protection due to poor living conditions. One police officer complained that they are not given transport while investigating cases and they rely on the victim’s relatives to do the medical reports and other tests.
One of the probation officers in Kampala complained that police officers handling children matters are sometimes prone to corruption. They are bribed by child offenders to turn a blind eye to some of their transgressions. Many victims of defilement end up being accused of lying and chased away from the units. The rich are in most cases protected. Some police officers connive with traffickers and release some unclaimed kids to them. Cases where children are victims are sometimes “messed up” by police and investigations are not completed or inconclusive. Police demand for “facilitation” from the victim’s relatives, to enable them to carry out the investigations. Money for buying supplies for kids is sometimes embezzled by police.
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