10 children sexually abused every day in Pakistan, report finds

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At least 3,768 children were sexually-assaulted during the year 2015. This comes down to an average of 10 children being abused each day. The year 2015 saw a 7 per cent increase in incidents of sexual abuse against children. Sahil, an NGO that works for spreading awareness about child sexual abuse in Pakistan-launched their annual report titled Cruel Numbers 2015 in a local hotel here.

During the year 2015, children in the bracket of 11-15 were more prone to sexual abuse, the ratio of female victims outweighed that of boys. According to data in the reports, 1974 girls and 1794 boys were sexually assaulted. The statistics were acquired from 84 national, regional and local newspapers out of which 7 were directly reported to Sahil.

Highest number of sexual abuse cases was registered in Punjab. 638 were registered in Sindh, 207 in Balochistan, 167 in Islamabad, while KP, Gilgit-Baltistan and FATA saw 113 cases. Capital has left KPK behind by a fair margin which is an alarming situation. More than 74 per cent cases are reported in the rural areas, 26 per cent of cases occurred in urban areas. Thus, urban areas prove to be safer than rural localities. Even the children as old as 5 years are not spared.

Dr Munizeh Bano, executive director Sahil, shared case studies of many victims. Mr. Umer Kiani, Mumtaz Hussain also addressed the inauguration ceremony. Ms. Allison Stewart, guest of the award ceremony in her address said: “Canada is proud to support such initiatives in Pakistan. The problem of child abuse is not new in Pakistan. It is Canadian high commission’s priority to put an end to child marriage in Pakistan, as 1 in 5 girls in the country are affected by it. We must promote education among girls. Globally, 62 million girls are out of school, we must do our bit  to change this.

The total number of abusers is 5483. Out of which, 1943 were acquaintances of abused children. 829 strangers make the second group. The age group among both girls and boys that is most vulnerable is 11-15.

Sahil has also started recording child marriages since 2012. During the year 2015, 112 cases of child marriages were reported in the media.

Hassan Mangi, DG of Human Rights was the guest of honor on the occasion. He addressed the audience on Criminal Law Amendment Act, 2015 (Child Protection). Mangi told that raising the criminal liability age from 7 years to 10 is an achievement. The insertion of various sections will safeguard the children for the time to come.

In the end, awards were given to child-friendly newspapers, in addition to Best Volunteer Award The award for child friendly newspaper was presented in three categories i.e. national, regional and local newspaper. Express Islamabad, Daily Kawish Hyderabad and Daily Sobh Karachi won the awards respectively.