Child Abuse Awareness in Pakistan

The Federal Ministry of Human Rights of Pakistan recently started a campaign to raise awareness around child abuse that is happening in Pakistan at the moment. The campaign highlights how important it is for parents, teachers, and society at large to be vigilant and inform children about child predators. Like many other countries, child abuse in Pakistan is a serious issues which often goes unreported. This is the first campaign of its kind in the country and it has already received a warm response from both activists and the general public.

Child abuse is not a recent phenomenon nor restricted to a particular region. According to Sahil, an NGO working in child protection services, about 3,445 children (2017 girls and 985 boys) were abused in Pakistan in 2017. However, this number is much higher as most cases are not reported because of social stigma attached to the issue and the lengthy investigation process by the police. Unfortunately, the victims are often abused by their relatives, through business or someone they know and trust which leads many to remain silent.

In recent years, several child abuse scandals have shocked the nation. In 2016, the Kasur child abuse scandal made headlines and, in 2018, the rape and murder of six-year-old girl Zainab Ansari led to protests. These were widely discussed on social media and people demanded that the government punish the culprits and protect children.

Global Voices spoke to Shimaila Matri Dawood, a member of the Kasur Hamara Hai (KHH) group and the Managing Director of a media management company, to learn about their contribution to the campaign:

The Pakistani government has taken a number of steps to prevent child abuse. A National Child protection Centre has been set up by the Ministry which offers free education, counseling and medical treatment. A toll-free telephone Helpline (1099) has also been set up where human rights issues, including child abuse, can be reported.

Credit to https://globalvoices.org/2019/03/01/not-allowed-to-touch-campaign-is-raising-awareness-about-child-abuse-in-pakistan/ for the story.