ISLAMABAD: Child sexual abuse cases in Pakistan have increased from nine cases per day in 2017 to 12 cases per day in the first six months of 2018, a report by Sahil states.
The ‘Cruel Numbers Report’ containing data from January to June 2018 has been compiled by Sahil, an NGO working on protection of children against violence, was released on Thursday.
The previous government failed to come up with an effective mechanism to protect children of this country from becoming a victim of sexual abuse, clearly reflected through a surge in the number of child sexual abuse cases.
This year from January to June, a total 2,322 child abuse cases were reported in newspapers from all four provinces including Islamabad Capital Territory (ICT), Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) and Gilgit Baltistan (GB).
The six-month data shows that out of the total reported cases, 1,298 (56%) of the victims were girls and 1,024 (44%) were boys.
The report quoting newspaper articles stated that the major crime categories of the reported cases from the first half of 2018 are abduction (542), sodomy (381), rape (360), missing children (236), attempt of rape (224), gang sodomy (167), attempt of sodomy (112), gang rape (92) and 53 cases of child marriages.
The data also revealed that children in the age brackets of 6-10 and 11-15 are most vulnerable to abuse.
Provincial statistics show that 65% cases were from Punjab, 25% cases from Sindh, 3% cases from Islamabad, 3% cases from K-P, 2% cases from Balochistan, 21 cases from AJK and 2 cases were reported from GB.
Out of the total reported cases, 74% were from rural areas and 26% cases reported from urban areas.
Report statistics also show that 89% of cases were registered with the police. In 32 cases the police refused to register the case, 17 cases were unregistered with the police and the registration status of 196 cases were not mentioned in newspapers.
While talking to The Express Tribune, Senior Programme Officer Media Sahil, Mamtaz Gohar said that there has been a 32% increase in the number of child abuse cases in first six months of this year as compared to the cases reported during first six months of 2017.
“Though the increase in the number of child sexual abuse in the country is upsetting, it also depicts that there has been an increase in the level of awareness among people and media regarding reporting such cases,” he said.
Gohar said that after the Zainab murder case, the media played a positive role in highlighting crimes, while also considering the sensitivity and privacy attached to the victim and their family.
He further said that Prime Minister Imran Khan’s mention of child-abuse cases in his maiden address raises hopes from the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government that they would work towards strict measures to curb this crime.