Home Crimes,National Keep a close eye on your children as sexual abuse up by 33% in Pakistan

Keep a close eye on your children as sexual abuse up by 33% in Pakistan

In 2022, 4253 children were subjected to violence across the country, reports Sahil.
by TNN Editor - 05 Apr, 2023 1641

Khalida Niaz

Pakistan records a 33 percent increase in cases of child sexual abuse during 2022, reported Sahil, an NGO working to prevent sexual violence against children in Pakistan, adding that in 2022, 4253 children were subjected to violence across the country.

According to the report titled 'Cruel Number', such cases had increased by more than 33% as compared to 2021.

The report states that the majority of children abused are girls. In the year 2022, more than 12 children were sexually abused per day, including a total of 2325 girls and 1928 boys.

The report further states that children between the ages of 6 and 15 years are most vulnerable to sexual abuse and most of the cases involved their own family members.

Also Read: Families Settled 63 child sexual assault cases in Dera Ismail Khan over past three years

While talking about this report, Imran Takkar, a social activist working for children's rights in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, told TNN that it is very alarming that sexual violence against children is increasing day by day.

He felt sorry for the 81 children who were not only subjected to sexual violence but also were killed after being sexually abused last year.

Imran Takkar said that in the year 2022, 46 children, including one boy and 44 girls, were married at an early age.

Parents not paying attention to children

Regarding the reasons for the increase in sexual violence against children, Imran Takkar said that parents don't keep a close eye on their children, while children themselves do not know who can be dangerous to them and how they can protect themselves from these threats.

He said most parents do not have information about this and those who have information are busy with other things and don't pay attention to their children as they are surrounded by economic problems, adding that the new technology also has a negative effect.

Cases of sexual violence against children used to happen earlier but were not reported, whereas now these cases are regularly highlighted in the media, he furthered.

Imran Takkar said sexual violence against children is not a problem of a single province or country but of the whole world and it is not possible to end it so soon, but taking steps for the welfare of children can reduce these cases, but in this, all stakeholders including the community such as scholars, teachers, elected representatives, youth have to play their own role, while in addition to this, the police, court and other institutions have to respond immediately and those responsible should be brought to justice.

The Child Sexual Abuse Act

Hamza Jahangir, a lawyer practicing in the Peshawar High Court and a member of the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan, said there are laws to protect children, but there is a lack of rule of law, which has led to an increase in sexual violence against children and other crimes.

He said that Section 377 of the Pakistan Penal Code applies to cases in which the accused can be punished with up to 18 years in prison.

According to Hamza Jahangir, despite the law, the accused are not punished because the police department does not investigate properly. Apart from this, the witnesses also do not appear in court, and even if they do, they are threatened and then they come to the court and give false statements, due to which the case of the accused is strengthened and the case of the plaintiff is weakened.

Hamza Jahangir himself deals with children's cases. Referring to a case, he said that a child was sexually abused in Nowshera, after which he was killed, but the medical report was not clear, and because of that, the accused got bail. The police sent the medical certificate of the case after a delay of three months, he added.

Hamza Jahangir, in agreement with Imran Takkar, said that the training of parents is very important to reduce these incidents because if they are aware, they will protect the children in a good way.

Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Child Protection Amendment Bill 2022

The Provincial Assembly of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa also passed the Child Protection Amendment Bill last year, in which severe punishments have been set for those involved in sexual crimes against children.

According to the law, those involved in abusing children can be sentenced to death or life imprisonment with a fine of up to seven million rupees. The person who made the video of sexual violence will be imprisoned for ten years and fined Rs.7 million.

Similarly, those involved in child trafficking will be punished with life imprisonment or twenty-five years of imprisonment along with a fine of five million rupees.

Cases of sexual violence against children will be heard in "Child Protection Courts" and the hearing of the case will be completed within one month.

The involved person will be kept apart from society and will not be allowed to go to any public places. There will be no relaxation of his imprisonment. Even after completion of the sentence, such persons shall not be employed in any institution dealing with children.

Imran Takkar said the problem is not the law, but prevention and response, because the accused are arrested, but in the stages, they go through, they get opportunities to set themselves free. The loopholes in the police and judicial system need to be addressed, he asserted.