KARACHI - “There are well equipped child protection units fully functional in 29 districts of Sindh while more are on their way to completion,” said Shamim Mumtaz, Adviser to the Sindh Chief Minister for Social Welfare.

Addressing a program organised by Aga Khan University here Tuesday to mark International Children Day 2017, she acknowledged that child abuse or child maltreatment is a harsh reality that needed coordinated efforts for efficient handling. “Provincial government is absolutely committed to the protection of the child rights, with particular focus on their protection against abuse,” said the adviser.

Shamim Mumtaz on the occasion also highlighted need for departmental coordination so that the cause of child right protection is actually ensured.

Referring to her recent experiences, she said attempts are being made to bring on board all relevant stakeholders, including those from government as well as private sector.

With specific reference to police department, she said police officials are being nominated in the divisional level child protection committees.

Tahera Hasan, Lawyer and Director, Imkaan Welfare Organisation; Rubina Feroz, clinical psychologist and Tehmina Shahid, CEO, Children Empowerment Association of Pakistan, participating in a consequent panel discussion suggested meaningful involvement of communities in the protection of kids.

This, they said was crucial as physical, sexual, or psychological mistreatment with a child or children, especially by a parent or other caregiver is a matter of serious concern.

There was claimed to be a gradual yet seething rise in the cases of child abuse in the country due to inadequate legal and administrative measures by the respective governments.

It was regretted that the scenario has also emerged as major contributor to the high school dropout rate.

Many children living or working on the street are not there because they are orphans or have been abandoned, but because they are subject to abuse, said the panellists.