PESHAWAR, Aug 22: As many as 2,321 cases of child sexual abuse were reported in the country in 2007, including the killing of 62 children after sexual assault.
Participants at a consultation on Friday were informed that 1,612 of the victims were girls and 709 boys.
The speakers emphasised on enhancing the role of major stakeholders, including the media and police, in addressing the issue of child protection and checking the cases of child sexual abuse.
The consultation on “Role of media as an advocate on child protection issues” was organised by the working group against child sexual abuse (CSA) and commercial sexual exploitation of children (CSEC), a body of six national and international NGOs.
Adeel Ahmad, a senior programme officer at Sahil, an organisation working on the issue of child sexual abuse and exploitation, said 80 of the children abused in 2007 were below the age of five. He said 358 victims were six to 10 years old; 585, 11 to 15 years old; and 266, 16 to18 years old.
Quoting from a study of Sahil “Cruel Numbers 2007”, Mr Ahmad said 5,144 people had been charged in CSA cases, 3,449 of whom were acquaintances of the victims. He said the data had been collected from 69 national and regional newspapers and the number of such cases could be much higher.
The director of the research and development of the police department, SSP Dr Fasihuddin, said that from 2002 to 2007, 713 CSA cases were registered with police in the NWFP. He said 58 of the victims were girls and 642 boys, whereas 41 cases were of gang rape.
“Sexual abuse leaves deep impact on physical and mental health of a child and if the victims are not treated properly they remain under the influence of this cruel act for the rest of their life,” said Pakistan Paediatric Association president Dr Mohammad Tufail.
He said the media could play an effective role in creating awareness in the society regarding these issues.
The National Plan of Action against CSA and CSEC had been passed by the federal cabinet in 2006, but it was needed to be implemented, said Syed Miqdad Mehdi, project coordinator of the working group.