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Violence Against Children

UNICEF has mentioned in their report, “From the limited data, it is fair to conclude that physical and psychological violence is pervasive in Punjab and Sindh — the two most populous provinces — suggesting the issue’s magnitude across all socioeconomic cohorts and geographies.”

Not only in Sindh and Punjab,  but children all over the country are at risk of abuse, including child labor, punishments, sexual abuse, and detrimental traditions such as child marriage.

The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child defines ‘Violence Against Children’ as “all forms of physical or psychological violence, injury, abuse, neglect or negligent treatment, maltreatment or exploitation, including sexual abuse.” Such treaties/conventions are consistent with the Constitution of Pakistan, which guarantees fundamental liberties to its citizens, including children.

In December 2018, the National Assembly of Pakistan passed a resolution recognizing the rights of every child and mother. In addition, the resolution stated that  “the House strongly condemns ruthless practices involving the sale of children, internal human trafficking, child abuse, child pornography, and prostitution and urges the enactment of stringent legislation to combat these inhuman and brutal offenses.”

The Child Protection & Welfare Bureau is an autonomous agency of the Government of Punjab,  based on the Punjab Destitute & Neglected Children Act of 2004. Its mission is to provide needy, neglected, abused, and runaway children with shelter, education, medical care, and protection. It emphasizes transforming them into valuable and productive members of society. Similarly, the Sindh Child Protection Authority has been constituted to ensure compliance with the regulations of the Sindh Child Protection Authority Acts (2011 and 2016).

The KPK government also established the Child Protection and Welfare Commission to guarantee children’s protection, survival, and development. The KPK Child Protection & Welfare Act of 2010 deals with child protection. In Balochistan, the Child Protection Bill of 2015 was enacted to defend children in the province from “violence, harm, injury, abuse, neglect or negligent treatment, maltreatment, and exploitation.”

CREDP emphasizes that a country-wide mechanism for managing records and maintaining a database of cases of violence against children does not exist. In reality, factual and nationally representative data on the subject are scarce. Pakistan does not have a legal definition of child abuse, neglect, or violence (CAN & violence), as yet. The proposed definition of World Health Organization-proposed has been utilized in most cases. There are no official data sources on CAN & violence. There is a significant absence of effective policies and policy implementation regarding violence against children at the provincial and federal levels. Pakistan urgently needs to strategize the policies and the authorities concerned with Violence Against Children to safeguard the new generation from the tragedies they are confronting.