Majority of abusers in Punjab are minor boys: Report

symbolic image.  Reuters/File
symbolic image. Reuters/File
  • 55% of the people were neighbors of the victims, 13% were relatives, 32% were strangers.
  • Most of the incidents in Gujranwala were reported between January-July 2023.
  • Rawalpindi and Lahore reported the least number of rape cases.

LAHORE: In a shocking revelation, Punjab’s Interior Department recently shared that as cases of sexual abuse of children are on the rise, more boys than girls are becoming victims of such crimes.

A report compiled on the number of such cases from January to June 15, 2023, shows that in less than six months, the province recorded 1,390 cases of child abuse – a frightening number in itself, but further It is made worse by the revelations of ,

According to the report, about 69% (959 cases) of the cases registered involved minor boys, while the remaining 31% (431 cases) involved girls.

Even more disturbing were the revelations of the perpetrators.

Furthermore, the report noted that 55% of those facing trial were neighbors of the victims, 13% were relatives, and 32% were strangers.

Regarding the city-wise prevalence of child abuse cases, the report said that the highest number of rape cases in Punjab were reported in Gujranwala, where 220 cases were registered.

Rawalpindi and Lahore reported the lowest number of rape cases at 69 and 89 respectively.

In addition, DG Khan reported 199 incidents; Faisalabad 186; Multan 140; Bahawalpur 129; Sheikhupura 128; Sahiwal 127; and Sargodha 103.

reasons for the increase in child abuse

According to the report, child sexual abuse in Pakistan is influenced by a number of social factors, and patriarchal norms, power imbalances, poverty, illiteracy and social inequalities contribute to children’s vulnerability.

Afshan Tehseen, former chairperson of the National Child Rights Commission (NCRC), also supports it. in conversation with geo.tvHe said that the prevalence of child abuse is directly due to poverty.

Many people from poor backgrounds have no hesitation in sending their children to work, many just for one meal a day, he said, adding that the more such vulnerable children are exposed, the more likely they are to be exploited. Will be

Furthermore, he added that the increase in the number of male victims can be attributed to the fact that many families are already protecting their girls; However, boys tend to have greater mobility in society, resulting in increased chances of exploitation.

Additionally, the report states that victim-blaming attitudes and lack of awareness about child rights have exacerbated the challenges in addressing and preventing such crimes.

problem solving

While the report enumerates several steps taken by governments to address child sexual abuse – such as the Criminal Law (Amendment) Act of 2016, the Child Abuse Prevention Act of 2018 and the Zainab Alert, Response and Recovery Act 2020 – it points out that Effective implementation, enforcement and coordination among relevant agencies is critical to ensure justice for victims and punishment for perpetrators.

1) Sensitizing Child Protection and Welfare Bureau (CPWB)

The report suggested that the CPWB, Always The primary stakeholders to be sensitized and directed to be more proactive in view of the prevailing situation for the safety of children.

“There should be a dedicated team of professionals and motivated officials, including child protection officers, psychologists, law officers and doctors, to protect children from abuse and rehabilitate victims,” the report recommended.

2) Comprehensive Approach

The report stresses the need for a comprehensive mechanism for coordination among various key stakeholders including police, parents, CPWB and other relevant federal and provincial agencies.

3) Sensitization, Capacity Building

Another recommendation shared by the report includes sensitization and capacity building of stakeholders and staff of relevant agencies through training programmes.

These programs can be organized for professionals who work with children, such as teachers, health care providers, personnel from law-enforcement agencies, and social workers, to identify signs of abuse, respond sensitively, and provide appropriate support. To enhance their skills in providing

4) Awareness Campaign

The report emphasized the importance of awareness campaigns in social and entertainment sectors and recommended that such campaigns should be carried out on print and electronic media to educate the public.

5) Coordination between helplines

The report also strongly suggested that all helplines be coordinated at the provincial level and that the domestic violence helpline 1099 be linked to the police department.

6) Setting up a database

“A database of abducted/missing children should be developed for analysis and policy recommendations,” the report said.

7) Reviewing existing equipment

“National and provincial legislatures need to review existing child protection laws while improving existing mechanisms,” the report said. The report called for the government to set up special courts for child abuse cases and increase the capacity and training of law-enforcement agencies and the judicial system. Handle such cases effectively.

It proposed a review of the role of the Ministry of Human Rights, stating: “The Ministry should play its part in reviving the National Child Protection Center to identify, prevent and report the issue of child abuse”, the report stated in.

8) Holistic Support Services

The report also states that there is a need for holistic support services including counselling, medical aid, legal aid and rehabilitation programmes.

It states that these programs should be made available to child survivors and their families to assist them in their recovery and reintegration into society.

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