Nairobi - Perpetrators of violence against Kenyan women are most often the victim's relatives, and police rarely act when attacks are reported.

In more than 80 percent of incidents of violence against women reported to local chiefs, the police and churches this year, the perpetrator was either an uncle, cousin, brother, husband or father, the Federation of Women Lawyers in Kenya said in its annual report on Tuesday.

In another 11 percent of the cases, the attacker was a teacher or friend, the group said. The perpetrator was a stranger only 15 percent of the time.

The police rarely act when the attacker is a family member, saying it is an issue for the family to deal with privately, said Jane Kiragu, the group's executive director.

"We urgently need a legal framework that deals with the perpetrators," said Martha Koome, the federation's chairperson.

Another critical issue facing abused Kenyan women, the vast majority of whom are poor, is the difficulty to find lawyers who can press their rights in court, Koome explained.

There is no programme to provide lawyers to the poor, and the group has tried to fill the gap. Between 1999 and 2002, its members handled 30 277 cases of women who could not afford to pay for a lawyer. - Sapa-AP