Child abuse on decline across country
ISLAMABAD: There is a decrease in child abuse cases in the country as the number of such cases dropped from six per day in 2006 to four per day in 2007, claims Sahil, an NGO working against child abuse.
Sahil statistics, obtained by Daily Times, show that in year 2007 the number of child abuse cases was 2,321 (one case every six hours and four cases a day). Of the victims 69 percent (1,612) were girls and 31percent (709) were boys.
Most of the children were abused at home and the abusers were acquaintances of victims or of their families. The age group of victims was between 11 to 15 years.
More cases were reported in rural areas than urban communities. In only 39 reported cases, parents, especially mothers of the victims mustered up courage and approached the police for relief.
Awareness: Adeel Ahmed of Sahil said decline in child abuse cases could be due to awareness among children and parents.
He said people were fast becoming aware of the issue and measures to protect children from abuse. “It’s a great source of encouragement for all working against child abuse,” he added.
According to the statistics, though the number of child abuse cases has dropped, 4.1 percent more cases of boy abuse were reported in year 2007 than 2006.
In 799 abuse cases in year 2007, girls were abducted before they were sexually assaulted.
A total of 505 children (213 boys and 292 girls) were subjected to rape and sodomy; 289 children (193 girls and 96 boys) to attempt of rape or sodomy and 391 children to gang rape or gang sodomy by two to five persons. Sixty-two children were murdered after sexual assault.
The data shows that girls were abused for a longer period of time. A total of 167 girls and 43 boys were abused for one week to six months.
Province-wise breakdown: In 2007, Punjab reported highest number (1,312) of child abuse cases (56 percent), followed by Sindh with 743 (32percent), Islamabad with 133 (six percent), NWFP with 64 (three percent), Balochistan with 46 (two percent) and Azad Kashmir with 23 (one percent).
The number of child abuse cases was higher in rural areas of Islamabad, Punjab and Sindh as compared to urban areas, whereas this number was higher in urban areas of NWFP and Balochistan than the rural areas.
In Punjab, rural areas reported 796 (61 percent) cases and urban areas 516 (39 percent). In Sindh, rural areas reported 619 (83 percent) cases and urban areas 124 (17 percent). In Islamabad, rural areas reported 52 (39 percent) cases and urban areas 81 (61percent); In NWFP, rural areas reported 10 (16 percent) cases and urban areas 54 (84percent). In Balochistan, rural areas reported five (11 percent) cases and urban areas 41 (89 percent) and in Azad Kashmir, rural areas reported 18 (78 percent) cases and urban areas five (22 percent).
Neighbour abusers: Of 5,144 abusers, 3,449 were acquaintances of the victims while 17.49 percent were strangers. The number of neighbour abusers increased from 118 in 2006 to 218 in 2007. This over 54 percent increase made neighbours the third highest category of abusers. In many reported cases, an abuser committed sexual crime as a form of punishment or for the sake of revenge.
Sahil recorded 13 cases of revenge of which seven were due to conflict over marriage proposal. Two thirds of them were reported from rural areas. Acquaintances and relatives were the major abusers in this category. Police registered FIRs in 10 cases.
In 37 cases, abusers were convicted and sentenced to death penalty, imprisonment or heavy fine. However, some cases were settled out of the court.
The data shows that the police and courts processed majority of these cases within one year of their registration. Ahmed said child sexual abuse was not just an individual or family problem.
Source: Daily Times