ISLAMABAD: In order to observe the World Day for Prevention of Child Abuse and Violence against Children, the Sahil media department presented its recent publication five years analysis report (2007-2011) on “Trends in Reported Cases of Child Sexual Abuse” on Tuesday at the National Press Club Islamabad.
The World Day for Prevention of Child Abuse and Violence against Children is observed across the world on November 19 every year.
Habiba Salman, senior program officer media, said that Sahil is working on child protection especially against child sexual abuse in Pakistan.
Besides providing trainings to multi-sector stakeholders such as teachers, parents, children, police, district administration, nurses, doctors and lawyers; providing free legal aid and free counseling services to victims and survivors of child sexual abuse, Sahil also produces a yearly statistical analysis of child sexual abuse cases reported in daily newspapers called Cruel Number Report.
The data reflected in these reports is collected from 86 newspapers from all over the country.
This year the five year analysis (2007-2011) of Cruel Number report, has been compiled to analyze trends in news reported cases of child sexual abuse.
The cases of CSA from 2007 to 2011 show that sexual offence against children has persistently continued to rise over the last five years. The total 10,726 cases of sexual abuse were reported during these years. Over the years, the ratio of sexually abused children shows that averages of 5-6 children were abused per day. The percentage of sexual abuse of girls is recorded by 71 % (7,570) and 29% (3,156) of the victims were boys said Habiba Salman.
Atta Mohy Ud Din Syed, program officer media, said that out of the total 10,726 cases recorded 45% cases were of abduction. The major crime category of rape/sodomy including gang rape and gang sodomy show that 4,201 cases were recorded and 1,028 cases of molestation and attempt of rape/sodomy were reported during 2007 to 2011. Even more serious crime is committed when the victim is murdered. A total of 573 victims were murdered after sexual assaults. A total of 23,884 abusers are on record. The largest groups identified were 16,219 (68%) acquaintances and 4,311(18%) strangers.
The highest percentage of vulnerable age group among both girls and boys was between 11-15 years.
The Urban–Rural divide shows that 65% cases were reported from rural areas whereas 35% of cases were reported from the urban areas. The data shows sexual abuse can occur anywhere, at any time, therefore children are not safe. Statistics show 48% of cases of sexual assault took place within enclosed areas whereas 14% case took place in open spaces said Safeer Hussain Shah, senior legal aid consultant.
Imtiaz Sumra, senior program officer legal aid, said that province–wise division shows that 7,384 cases of abuse were reported from Punjab followed by 2,339 cases reported from Sindh, 501 from Islamabad, 281 from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, 177 from Balochistan, 41 from Azad Jammu Kashmir and only three cases were reported from Gilgit Baltistan.
Of all the cases 80% were registered with police, 5% were unregistered and status of 15% cases remained unknown.
The report sheds light on different dimensions of the phenomena of child sexual abuse in Pakistan.
These figures are just a tip of the iceberg. Media, civil society, government departments and political leaders must take tangible steps to put a halt to child sexual abuse in the country and save our future generations from further devastation.