News Analysis |
A new report on child abuse in Pakistan has presented some dreadful facts. According to the NGO Sahil, reported cases of child abuse increased by 11 percent in the year 2018 compared to 2017, with more than 10 children suffering some form of abuse every day in Pakistan last year.
The report released on Wednesday found that a total of 3,832 child abuse cases were reported by newspapers in all four provinces as well as Islamabad, Azad Kashmir, and Gilgit-Baltistan. In comparison, 3,445 such incidents were reported from January to December 2017.
The state of Pakistan requires some structural changes which must ensure that children are told about molestation/sexual assaults, authorities deal with such cases with utmost care and the application of due process of law is ensured.
- 3,832 cases of child abuse reported in 2018
- 33pc rise seen in child sexual abuse cases
- Girls found to be more vulnerable between ages 0-5 and 16-18
- Boys found to be more vulnerable between ages 6-10 and 11-15
- Most child abuse cases reported from Punjab, followed by Sindh and KP
The total figure of 3,832 crimes against children includes 923 reported cases of abduction, 589 of sodomy, 537 of rape, 452 of missing children, 345 of attempted rape, 282 of gang sodomy, 156 of gang rape and 99 cases of child marriages.
The report, titled ‘Cruel Numbers 2018’, has been compiled by monitoring 85 regional and national newspapers, and from the cases that have been reported. It is important to note that Sahil has been releasing the report for the past 18 years in collated form.
Read more: Child abuse continues unabated in Pakistan
Moreover, it is important to mention here that of the total reported 3,832 cases, 55 percent of the victims were girls while 45pc were boys.
The total figure includes 2,327 cases of child sexual abuse alone, with 51pc of the cases involving female children and 49pc male children. According to the report, data shows that cases of child sexual abuse specifically witnessed a rise of a significant 33pc when compared with the reported cases of 2017.
However, the trend of more girls being the victims than boys in abuse cases was not consistent in all categories; the report found that girls were more vulnerable to child sexual abuse than boys in the age brackets of 0-5 years and 16-18 years while boys were found to be more vulnerable to sexual abuse in the age brackets of 6-10 years and 11-15 years.
Child abuse cases are most of the time reported in a specific socio-economic class, who happen to believe in words on religious leaders/ mullahs in mosque way more than the teachers at school.
The report notes that girls are generally not allowed to go outside and kept away from public space. Such trends keep them safe from the strangers but, at the same time, it makes them vulnerable to incest. Boys, on the other hand, are thought to be not facing any threats and “this understanding eventually puts boys in a more vulnerable situation, especially when minor boys are sent to shops to buy grocery or to deliver something in the neighborhood.”
Despite all efforts rape cases involving child victims are increasing in Pakistan. It demands the incumbent government to place special focus on the situation and ensure children protection across the country.
Experts believe that mere legislation is not sufficient to counter the prevailing challenge of child abuse. The state of Pakistan requires some structural changes which must ensure that children are told about molestation/sexual assaults, authorities deal with such cases with utmost care and the application of due process of law is ensured.
Ministry of Human rights in February this year launched an awareness campaign to prevent child abuse.
— Ministry of Human Rights Government of Pakistan (@mohrpakistan) February 12, 2019
In Pakistan, the religiously conservative society, how successful this campaign would be, is yet to be seen. Child abuse cases are most of the time reported in a specific socio-economic class, who happen to believe in words on religious leaders/ mullahs in mosque way more than the teachers at school. How the government would make this campaign inclusive is going to be very challenging as these religious leaders have been very critical of such educational campaigns.