Tayyab Muhammadzai

Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government has further increased punishment and fines under the amendments made to the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Child Protection and Welfare Act 2010.

KP assembly approved the amendments in its sitting on Tuesday.

Following the amendments, sexual assault against children will be punishable with death sentence and fine up to Rs 5 million. In addition to this, filming sexual assault will carry 20 years imprisonment and Rs 70 million in fine.

In addition to this, those sharing videos of sexual assault will also receive 10 years behind bars and Rs 20 million in fines. Besides, DNA, video and other evidence collected forensically will be admissible in a court of law.

Crimes against children will also non-compoundable.

In addition to this, convicts of child sexual assault will not be allowed to enter public places, transport and parks to isolate him. Besides, police will also share pedophiles details on its website.

Imran Takkar, a child rights activist from KP welcomed the amendments in legislation

However, he said that laws were passed to stop crimes in Pakistan and KP but these laws could not be enforced due to lack of resources.

Mr Takkar said that criminal justice system should be strengthened so that the victims get justice.

He said that training workshops should be conducted for capacity building of all stakeholders regarding laws so that it would be easier to handle the issue properly during the trial and to create awareness among the people about those laws.

Mr Takkar said that due to lack of resources, child courts have been setup in only eight of 35 districts of the province while child protection units have been set up in only 12 districts.

Child sexual abuse in KP

KP police data shows that 185 cases of child sexual abuse were reported in the province in 2019.  Number of sexual assault cases increased to 323 in 2021. On the other hand, current year figures have not yet come to surface.

A non-governmental organization (NGO) report states that most of the people involved in child abuse were relatives, neighbors and acquaintances.

Farhadullah Afridi, a lawyer having expertise in child protection laws said that the amendment to the Child Protection Act 2010 was a positive  development.

However, he said that legislation needed to enforced.

Regarding the social boycott of convicts, he said that it was very difficult thing to do and a separate force would be needed to keep the convicts in the rape cases isolated from the society.

He said that in cases of sexual abuse of children, the investigation officers would have to be fully trained to ensure proper investigation in such cases to get justice for affected children.

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