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Eleven children abused daily in Pakistan in 2023, says report

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Islamabad | March 2, 2024 4:56:40 AM IST
In Pakistan, a staggering 4,213 cases of child abuse were reported in the year 2023, with an alarming average of 11 children facing abuse each day, according to the ''Cruel Numbers 2023'' report released by the non-profit organisation Sahil, in collaboration with the National Commission for Human Rights (NCHR), Geo News reported.

The comprehensive report encompasses various forms of child abuse, including sexual abuse, abduction, missing children, and child marriages.

The gender breakdown reveals that out of the total reported cases, 53 per cent of victims were girls, and 47 per cent were boys.

Notably, children between the ages of 6 and 15 were identified as the most vulnerable to abuse, with a higher number of boys than girls reported as victims within this age group. Shockingly, even children as young as 0-5 years old fell victim to sexual abuse, as reported by Geo News.

The report delves into the categorisation of abusers, highlighting that acquaintances remain the primary perpetrators of child sexual abuse, followed by relatives, family members, strangers, and women abettors. Geographically, Punjab reported the highest number of cases, accounting for 75% of the total, followed by 13 per cent in Sindh, 7 per cent in Islamabad, 3 per cent in KP, and 2 per cent in Balochistan, AJK, and GB combined.

Expressing concern over the distressing figures, NCHR Chairperson Rabia Javeri Agha emphasized the urgent need to address the issue of child abuse. She lamented the absence of a notified national action plan on child abuse by the Government of Pakistan despite the alarming statistics.

Sahil Executive Director Manizeh Bano highlighted the constitutional provision of free education from ages 5 to 16 (Article 25-A) and stressed the imperative need for its implementation to ensure the education of children. Bano also underscored the necessity of improving the curriculum to provide life-skills-based education as a preventive measure against child abuse.

The report, termed ''Cruel Numbers 2023,'' revealed that 91 per cent of the total reported cases were registered with the police, indicating an active role played by law enforcement in addressing the issue. Of the reported cases, 2,021 specifically involved child sexual abuse, with an equal distribution between genders. Shockingly, 61 cases reported murder following sexual abuse, 1,833 cases of abduction, 330 cases of missing children, and 29 cases of child marriages, with 27 cases involving girls and 2 involving boys, according to Geo News.

In addition to cases of abuse, NGO monitored incidents involving children up to 18 years old who suffered injuries or death. Out of 2,184 cases monitored, the highest numbers were attributed to drowning (694), accidents (401), murder (286), torture (121), injuries (111), suicide (110), and deaths from electric shocks (103).

The NGO further compiled ''Cruel Numbers 2023'' by monitoring 81 national and regional newspapers daily, with the aim of presenting comprehensive data on the situation of violence against children and contributing to existing information on child sexual abuse in Pakistan. The report also seeks to raise awareness and disseminate information about various forms of child sexual abuse across all segments of society, Geo News reported. (ANI)

 
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