A total of 2,252 children throughout Pakistan were sexually assaulted in the year 2010, revealed the annual report of Sahil, an NGO that works towards eliminating child abuse.
The report is based on data collected from January 2010 through December 2010 from 66 Pakistani newspapers monitored daily, said a Sahil representative. He said the cases involving victims below 18 years of age were compiled in a report called Cruel Numbers.
According to the report, at least seven children were assaulted daily. Excluding children who had been abducted, an average of four children were assaulted The nature of the crime has been divided into several categories in the report with abduction, rape or sodomy and gang rape or gang sodomy having the highest percentages.
The data shows that 73 per cent of the children who were sexually assaulted were girls and 27 per cent were boys.
The data also shows that a total of 4,543 abusers were involved.
The largest group of abusers was identified as acquaintances of the victims, the second largest group was strangers, and the third largest was relatives. It further revealed that in 21 per cent of the cases, the children were abused more than once by the same abuser. Similar to the results of previous years, the most vulnerable age group among girls was 11 years to 18 years. Among boys this age bracket was 6 years to 15 years.
A province-wise division shows that 76 per cent of the cases were reported from Punjab, followed by Sindh and Islamabad
Sahil also suggested recommendations for child protection at provincial level. It demanded establishment of a protection, intervention and rehabilitation centre in the province. Further, the NGO urged for a course to be included in primary education to teach children how to keep safe.
Published in The Express Tribune, April 8th, 2011.