Out of 4503 cases of child abuse and 3088 cases of rape of women reported in Punjab in the first 10 Months of 2022 the 27% of child cases occurred in Lahore only.
A non-governmental organization on Tuesday launched a report on Violence against Women and Children at the Sociology Department at the University of Punjab. As per report there were 4503 cases of child abuse and 3088 cases of rape of women in the province of Punjab this year, up till 31st October 2022. This data was obtained from the Punjab Police, who consolidated data of cases from 1st January 2022 to 31st October 2022.
Looking at both violence against women and children, Lahore and Faisalabad led with the highest number of cases, while in the case of rape, Sargodha, Multan and Sheikhupura were the next hotspots, while Sheikhupura, Kasur, Gujranwala and Rawalpindi were hotspots of child abuse. According to research by the Sustainable Social Development Organization (SSDO) and the Centre for Research, Development and Communication (CRDC), for child abuse in particular, 27% of the cases occurred in Lahore, which meant that over one in four cases occurred in only one of the thirty-six districts. Similarly, on the other end, districts like Jhelum, Chakwal, Mianwali, Narrowal and Khushab were among those with the lowest prevalence of violence against women and children.
Syed Kausar Abbas, Executive Director, SSDO stated, “The purpose of consolidating this data is to present the current situation at district level about violence against women and children in Punjab. Moreover, we want to provide reference to relevant policymakers and stakeholders to take initiatives to reduce violence against women and children through policy-making and implementation of relevant laws by identifying hotspot districts of crime. We hope that this can lead to a comprehensive approach of working towards eliminating gender-based violence by bringing on board all relevant stakeholders.”
Dr. Rubina Zakir, Head of Department of Sociology, Punjab University, stated that the numbers of cases we hear about in the news are only the tip of the iceberg, and that many people are still hesitant to report such cases to the police. Talking to the students in particular, she stated that they should raise awareness regarding violence against women and children, especially in their communities, to stop this menace.
Rafia Kamal, Chairperson Women Protection Authority, urged the students at the event to actively report cases of violence against women and children to the police, so that swift action can be taken. Moreover, she also stressed upon the fact that there is a dearth of accurate statistics regarding gender-based violence, and that academia can play a major role in conducting research that will be a great source of information for all relevant stakeholders. She also stated that media needs to ensure that they show positive portrayals of women on screen.
Chief Guest, Musarrat Cheema, Spokesperson Chief Minister Punjab discussed how women’s representation in decision making and senior management roles is severely limited, which needs to be increased. Moreover, she stated that a collaborative effort from all stakeholders such as media, government and civil society organizations is needed to effectively curb this issue.