LAHORE - There is no dedicated rehabilitation centre for sexually abused children, causing victims and their families to go through a psychological trauma for years.

In certain cases, the victims carry baggage of past memories that affect not only their matrimonial life but also future of their children. The Kasur incident has put serious question mark on the sincerity of the rulers regarding protection of children from sexual abuse and measures to remove scars from memories of victims so that they could lead a normal life and become useful citizens of the society.

What to say of a dedicated centre in the province when a psychiatrist having specialisation in adult psychology is running Peads Psychiatric Department at Children’s Hospital Lahore for years.

“There is a severe shortage of peadiatric psychiatrists in the country. Specialists in adult psychiatry cannot cover all dimensions needed to handle minors. The government should promote specialisation in child psychiatry and establish dedicated rehabilitation centres for counseling of victims and their families,” said Prof Saad Bashir, a leading psychiatrist in the country.

“Psychiatric intervention at early stage could remove black scars on memories of victims and help them lead a normal life. If unattended, victims face short-term and long-term psychological problems. Sexually abused children usually face trauma, anxiety, fear and sleeplessness. They also lose trust in other people. In the long run, past memories disturb matrimonial life of victims that also leave a negative impact on their children,” he said.

Referring to the miseries of families of victims, he said people continue to experience psychological trauma as they cannot share the incident with others due to fear of disgrace.

“Family members silently suffer. They face depression and frustration over their helplessness to reduce agony of their dear and near ones,” Prof Saad Bashir said.

Referring to the possible reasons behind increasing incidents of child molestation, he said distance between children and parents, negative use of cell phones and internet were the main factors.

“Lack of attention on the part of parents and unwise use of technology by children are doing no good. Children make friendship on facebook and meet secretly. Parents are not there to guide their children,” he said.

“Parents should improve coordination and make friendship with their children. It will help them get timely information of activities of their children. Civil society organisations have an important role to play in raising awareness about reasons and measures to save children from sexual abuse. Khateebs and people in rural and far-flung areas should be given proper training on the pattern of clergies in developed countries so that they could play their due role in bringing people on right track,” Prof Saad Bashir suggested.