Child protection institutes across Pakistan demanded
Islamabad: Child Rights Movement (CRM) National Secretariat conducted a press conference at Press Club Islamabad here on Wednesday to call for the need for accelerated measures needed by the government to curb child sexual abuse in Pakistan.
CRM, a network of civil society organisations and activists working for the promotion and protection of child rights called for the need to improve and strengthen child protection systems in the country, as well as to enhance the forensic investigation process to ensure increased conviction rates of perpetrators.
CRM also emphasis on the need to develop comprehensive data base of abusers and such abusers must never be offered employment with the institutions working for children. CRM also called for the need for improving the forensic investigation process, including emphasis on properly securing the crime scene to prevent and collecting DNA evidence. He further called for addressing child trafficking in the country, as child sexual abuse and trafficking are a closely linked phenomenon. CRM representative demanded approval of the Child Protection and Welfare act from senate, prompt action demanded to make the National Commission on the Rights of the Child functional.
In addition, CRM suggested amendment in Criminal law to make the offences related to child abuse non-compoundable. “Enactment of the Trafficking in Persons Bill which aims to prevent and Combat Trafficking in persons, especially Women and Children, can be a first step in holistically addressing internal trafficking and setting up a mechanism for victims of trafficking”; he said.
CRM member organisation, Rozan called for inclusion of life skills curriculum in schools in order to train children regarding protection from perpetrators. Through this inclusion, teachers can be trained also for imparting the life skills education among children. There should also be a launch of campaigns and activities at the community level in order to create awareness regarding child protection. Representatives of CRM member organisations pointed out that despite relevant laws in provinces, their implementation is less than adequate. They called for the establishment of child protection units in every district of Pakistan and called for allocating adequate funds for child protection institutes.
According to Sahil, there were 4139 reported cases of child sexual abuse in 2016, whereas the first six months of 2017 saw as many as 1764 reported cases. Data reveals that daily 11 incidents of children sexual abuse are being reported in local media. CRM called for harmonising child protection mechanisms in the country, by creating a harmonized system of child protection institutes across Pakistan, with close coordination between provinces. Furthermore, the need for establishing a database for reported cases of child sexual abuse was also demanded.