Data Reveals Male Children In Pakistan More Vulnerable To Sexual Abuse Than Girls
Official statistics over the past two-and-a-half year reveal that boys are more vulnerable to sexual and other forms of violence than girls.
As per statistics collected by Naya Daur from Ministry of Human Rights under the Right of Access to Information Act 2017, a total of 543 child abuse cases were reported in the past two-and-a-half years; of which 400 boys age between five to 15 year and 143 girls age between four to 10 years stood victim of child abuses.
The ratio of violence against boys is 73 percent while 26 percent girls were victims of sexual and child abuses during the respective period.
Sexual abuse, corporal punishment, child marriages, child labor, beggary, and psychological tortures are some major abuses that were committed against children.
Similarly, Sahil, a non-profit organisation working for the rights of children, 2019 report states that at least eight children are abused per day in Pakistan. It states that children are most vulnerable to abuse in the age group 6-15 years, adding that the number of cases of male victims reported was much higher than that of girls. The major crime categories mentioned in the Sahil report are 778 abductions, 405 missing children, 348 sodomy cases, 279 rape cases, 210 attempted rapes, 205 gang sodomy and 115 gang rape. A total of 104 cases of child marriages were also recorded during 2019.
Year-wise break up
In year wise break up, 108 cases of violence against children were reported in the first six months of 2020; of which 60 boys’ age between five to 15 and 48 girls age between four to 10 were ‘stood victim’ of child abuse. The ratio of violence against boys remained higher than girls in the first half of 2020, the statistics reveal.
According to the SSDO report , a non-profit organization working for women and children rights, covering the period of January to June 2020, violence against children has increased by 4 percent in Pakistan. The report claims that the voices of children remain absent from research records and databases, hence the issue is never truly addressed in legislation and the policy development process with no solid grounds for key decision-making.
As per official sources, a total of 325 cases of violence against children were reported in 2019; of which the number of victim boys was 270 and girls 55 while the Sahil report of the same period reveals that a total of 2,846 case of child abuse were reported in the country. This huge difference in the number of reported child abuse cases raised various questions on the mechanism the Ministry has established to record cases of violence against children.
However, the Sahil report reveals that the reporting of child abuse cases has decreased by 26 percent compared to the year 2018. Gender divide of Sahil report shows that out of a total 2,846 cases of child abuse, 54 percent of victims were girls and 46 percent were boys which contradicts the official data ratio.
Similarly, as per official statistics 110 cases of child abuse were reported in 2018; of which the number of victim boys is 70 and girls are 40.
Province-wise break up
In provinces wise segregation, as many as 60 cases of child abuse were reported from Punjab in first six months of 2020, 20 case from KP, 17 from Sindh and 10 from Balochistan.
Similarly, the official data show that a total of 195 cases of child abuse were reported from Punjab, 98 from Islamabad, 18 from KP, 16 from Sindh and no case of violence against children were reported from Balochistan in 2019. Out of a total 195 cases, 150 girls and 177 boys stood victim to abuses.
But tally from Sahil 2019 report shows that out of a total 2,846 cases, more than half cases (54%) were reported from Punjab, 30% from Sindh, 7% from Islamabad, 6% from KP, 2% from Balochistan and less cases from AJK and GB. The comparison reveals that children in Punjab province are more vulnerable to abuses than other provinces.
In 2018, Punjab recorded 75 child abuse cases, Sindh 12, KP 20, Islamabad two and no case of violence against children was reported from Balochistan.
Punjab is the worst affected region followed by Sindh and Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa in violence against children.
Pakistan Muslim League President Ch Shujat Hussain has expressed concern over the rising cases of violence against children and women in the country. The PML-Q leader has also demanded of Prime Minister Imran Khan to make a new law for eliminating increasing cases of grave crimes of child abuse in the country.
He said his party will fully support him in this law.
The political leader said that Imran Khan instead of talking about woman rape incident in the Parliament should request the High Court for establishment of special courts for the hearing of the cases related to violence against women and children.
A rights activist based in Islamabad, Kausar Abbas, said there was a grave need to ensure the implementation of laws related to the protection of women and children at all levels. Children make up 39 percent while women and girls account for 48 percent of the country’s 207.8 million population, yet, Pakistan scores 5.46 out of 10 on “Child Rights Index” and ranks 164 out of 167 countries in the “Women, Peace and Security Index 2019/20”, a situation that calls for some serious actions, Abbas added.
Pakistan has pledged its commitment to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), still, women and children in the country continue to face violence, discrimination, and persecution, with authorities often failing to provide adequate protection or hold perpetrators accountable, he added.
The Sahil report states that in Pakistan, the proper mechanism for dealing with child sexual abuse is underdeveloped due to poor legal structures, underreporting, and socio-cultural stigma attached to such taboos acts.
· A total of 543 child-abuse cases were reported between Jan 2018 to June 2020.
· 108 case of child abuse reported in the first half of 2020
· 55% boys and 44.4% girls stood victim of child abuse in the first half of 2020
· 325 case of child abuse reported in 2019
· 83% boys and 16.9% girls stood victim of child abuse 2019
· 110 case of child abuse reported in the first half of 2018
· 63.6% boys and 36.3% girls stood victim of child abuse 2018
· Boys found more vulnerable to child abuse than girls