More than 10 children underwent some form of abuse every day in Pakistan last year. According to a report released by the NGO Sahil, the reported cases of child abuse increased by 11 percent in 2018.
The report findings state that the newspapers reported 3,832 child abuse cases in all four provinces along with Azad Kashmir, Islamabad, and Gilgit-Baltistan. The number of such incidents is more than those reported last year, i.e., 3,445.
The report, named ‘Cruel Numbers 2018’, has been prepared after monitoring 85 regional and national newspapers. The NGO has been releasing the report annually for the last 18 years.
In these 3,832 cases, 55 percent of the victims were girls while 45 percent were boys. Furthermore, among these cases, 2,372 are of child sexual abuse with 51 percent belonging to female children and 49 percent male.
Increased Crimes against Children
As per the report, 2018 witnessed a drastic increase in child sexual abuse cases, i.e., over 33 percent, as compared to the reported cases of 2017.
However, the trend of girls being victims more than boys in abuse cases was not uniform in all categories. The report states that in child sexual abuse cases, girls were more vulnerable than boys in the age bracket of 0-5 years and 16-18 years. But the boys were more vulnerable than girls in the age brackets of 6-10 years and 11-15 years.
The reported crimes against children include 923 reported cases of abduction, 589 of sodomy, 537 of rape, 452 of missing children, 345 of attempted rape, 282 of gang sodomy, 156 of gang rape, and 99 of child marriages.
The report also indicates that the sodomy cases increased by 61 percent in 2018 while the rape cases increased by 15 percent as compared to 2017.
Notably, the issue of child sexual abuse came into the limelight after a nine-year-old girl, Zainab, of Kasur, was raped and killed afterward. While it was expected that such cases would fall after the perpetrator’s death sentence, the rate of these cases increased.
However, that incident gave the victims’ family courage to share or speak up about the atrocity that happened to their children.