PESHAWAR -  Owing to negligence of the parents and lack of strict legislation to punish the evil forces in the society, numbers of child abuses cases have been mounting with each passing day and in the last one-year around 153 cases of child abuse have been reported.

As per the data available with The Nation, the urban-rural divide shows that 67 per cent cases were reported from rural areas whereas 33 per cent cases were reported from the urban areas. Of all the cases 74 per cent were registered with police, 7 per cent were unregistered whereas in 28 cases police refused to register FIR.

Latest case surfaced in Mardan on 23 April 2015 when local police has registered a case against two people for allegedly sexually abusing a 10-year-old-boy in the limits of Toru Police station, police said. A 10-year-old -boy resident of nearby village in Mardan told police that he was present in the fields when two persons came there and sexually abused him by force. Police registered case against the accused under section 377 and 34 of Pakistan penal code.

Another case was reported in Aug 2014, when a 14-year-old resident of Andrasi Village in Mansehra was raped by a fellow villager. She lodged an FIR against the accused at the Shinkiari police Station where a local police officer registered her complaint and consoled her, promising to bring her tormentor to justice.

On pretext of taking the girl for a medical examination to a local hospital, the police officer then took the girl to his house and raped her. The girl immediately informed the District Police Officer (DPO) of her ordeal, who immediately ordered for the arrest of the responsible person.

In May 2014, a class XII student from Mansehra-Khyber Pakhtunkhwa was gang raped by a group of men inside a car. The girl was returning home from college when one of her acquaintances offered to drop her home in her car. According to reports, a group of men were already inside the car and they gang raped the student. An FIR was lodged against the culprits whereby the police arrested four of the accused along with the victims’ friend who turned out to be their friend.

Besides these reported cases numbers of children are often being exploited at work places like workshops, hotels and various training centres. Due to economic miseries most of the children from nearby districts are coming to Peshawar to support their families but some time they goes in wrong hand.

The ratio is also high in Bannu, Mardan and Charsadda where poor people are mostly sending their children to work. These children need guidance and education that how to protect themselves against evils.

A local NGO Sahil has been working for the last 20 years on child protection especially against child sexual abuse. Its priority areas are awareness rising for prevention of child abuse . This includes capacity building of primary and secondary schools teachers, organizations, community members, parents, police and lawyers. In 2011 Sahil has started to reach out to communities to build their capacity on child protection, and establish child protection networks at the village level. These child protection networks are linked up with the local and district administration, INGO’s, NGO’s, private sector and other stakeholders to enable them to refer cases to the required service.

It is direly needed that federal government should immediately pass the Criminal Law Amendment Bill to further suggest strict punishment for these crime like sexual abuse, child pornography, and internal trafficking of children for prostitution.  Awareness campaigns should be initiated by the government and the community based organizations.

To initiate an open debate on Child Sexual Abuse (CSA), currently, the tabooed nature of all discourse on Child Sexual Abuse allows perpetrators to continue with their crime without fear of legal repercussions: media and school level information campaigns can be an effective start to bring CSA issues into the mainstream. Law enforcement agencies should be sensitised to recognize the forms of Child Sexual Abuse and to ensure the protection of victims of CSA. Effective monitoring and accountability of law enforcement agencies should be initiated to ensure that members of law enforcement agencies are not wilfully ignorant in case of vulnerable children.