ISLAMABAD: During the first six months of 2016, 2,127 incidents of child sexual abuse were reported from across the country, according to data collected from newspapers by the non-governmental organisation Sahil.
According to a report released on Friday, such incidents have increased by 36pc from the same time last year, when 1,565 cases of child sex abuse were reported.
Sahil Programme Officer Media Mumtaz Gohar told Dawn that 86 newspapers from three categories – national, regional and local – and in three languages – English, Urdu and Sindhi – were monitored in order to collect data on violence against children.
“According to the data collected, most of the cases were reported from Punjab, followed by Sindh. Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan remained third and fourth on the list,” he said.
He said that this could also be because many cases were not reported from KP and Balochistan, either because of the tribal system or because journalists in these provinces were reluctant to report on such incidents due to security concerns.
Mr Gohar added that the actual number of child sexual abuse is estimated to be double that reported in the media, as a large number of people do not want them reported.
According to the report, more boys than girls in the age groups 0-5 years and 11-15 years were sexually abused between January and June this year, compared to the same time last year.
However, more girls were abused than boys in the 16-18 year age group, and in 38pc of the cases reported in newspapers the victims’ ages were not mentioned.
Compared to this time last year, cases of gang rape have increased by 71pc, attempted rape by 61pc, ‘sodomy’ by 46pc and rape by 20pc. During the first six months of this year, 97 cases of child marriages have been reported when there were 34 such cases between January and June 2015. Of the cases reported, 946 assault cases were committed by acquaintances and 413 by strangers.
The location of the abuse was not mentioned in 1,079 cases while 318 cases happened at the victim’s home, 276 at an acquaintances’ home, 164 in the fields, 115 in the street, 38 in wooded areas, 30 in havelis, 22 in seminaries, 18 in shops, 16 in schools and 51 in other places including workplaces, marriage halls, hotels and shrines.
The report says that in the first six months of this year, 1,584 cases were registered with the police, and the status of 450 was not mentioned in the newspapers. The police refused to register cases in 82 incidents. Most of the cases were reported from the rural areas, with just 20pc cases being reported in urban parts of the country.