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Child abuse on surge

INCIDENTS of child sexual abuse regrettably and alarmingly are on the surge which warrants urgent action at different levels to combat it and protect the children from abuse, violence and neglect.Sahil – an NGO working for the protection of children from violence – recently released its 2018 annual report which reveals some dreadful figures related to violence against children. According to the report, a nationwide total of 3,832 child abuse cases were reported by newspapers last year which shows an eleven percent increase as compared to 3,445 reported cases in 2017. As the subject is often brushed under the rug in our society because of its taboo nature, the figure, in our view, declared by the Sahil is just tip of the iceberg. There will be thousands of other cases which would not have been reported anywhere due to reservations of families. If we really want to combat this menace, there is firstly need to bring a change in the mindset of the parents and care-givers who also need to be more vigilant of their children’s whereabouts and activities both within and outside the house. Then also comes the responsibility of both the federal and provincial governments to fulfil their responsibility towards the protection of the young souls, who are the future of this country. In close coordination with each other they need to develop a plan to counter child sexual abuses at local level through Union Council-level Vigilance Committees. There are also laws for protection of children which needs to be implemented in letter and spirit. Minister for Human Rights Shireen Mazari has always been vocal about the rights of vulnerable segments of society and we expect her to take the requisite steps towards curbing this menace. A massive campaign needs to be launched from the school level in order to create awareness about child protection. There is also need to build the capacity of police on child-related crimes and those delaying registering the FIR of any child abuse should be penalized as per the law.