Child abuse is a violence or torture received by a child from parents, teachers, relatives, neighbours, caregiver, or anyone around. It is the mistreatment in which children under the age of 18 are affected. Children who are victims of these abuses lead a difficult life marred with trauma. Some children are able to forget or leave behind such incidents but some cannot, which has a bad impact on their minds and they live with it for the rest of their lives.
Physical abuse is the second most frequently reported abuse in Pakistan. Physical abusing of a child is done when a person hurts, hits, burns, pushes, kicks, rapes or slaps a child or a child goes through a physical injury or trauma.
Sometimes parents’ attitude sends a red flag about child abuse. Consistently belittling or berating a child, and describing him with negative terms, such as ‘worthless’ or ‘useless’ and demanding an outstanding physical or academic performance from him does not improve child’s behaviour.
It is more common in middle-class families due to poverty or any mental stress due to which parents get frustrated and overwhelmed, which may lead to physical abuse of kids. About 11% child abuse cases are reported every year.
Here are few such incidents as reported in local media:
In the month of February, 2021, a mother burnt two kids alive in Manga Mandi.
On 25th March 2018, police arrested a woman who killed her three children. After investigation police stated that the lady was addicted to drugs.
On 26th November 2020, an education department caught two male teachers in the storeroom, who were molesting a child of their school at Pir Mahal, and handed them over to the police.
Physical torture is common in educational institutions across Pakistan. Teachers in schools and madrassas torture kids and they think beating children is good for them. There are certain cases reported in which torture on some students has resulted not only in injury, but also in death.
In January 2021, an eight-year-old child was beaten to death by a teacher in the Vehari district of Punjab. In the month of January 2018, another eight-year-old boy was beaten to death by a molvi in Karachi. Several videos of such beatings and violence have also gone viral in Pakistan.
For the rights of child activist, a bill against corporal punishments of children was passed in the National Assembly.
Article 37(a) of the Convention states that: “No child shall be subjected to torture or other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.”
In a historic move, the National Assembly passed a bill that bans all sorts of physical punishment of youngsters at educational institutions or work places in Islamabad. The bill bans physical punishments in all types of educational institutions including formal, non-formal, and religious both public and private, in childcare institutions including foster care, rehabilitation centers and any other alternative care centers.
Above mentioned cases are those which are covered by the media and investigated by the police however it is also pertinent here to mention that many cases go unreported and are not often highlighted by the media. There are certain reasons which have to be overcome. The reasons behind such incidents are lack of education, lack of communication, too much involvement in media, less attention towards proper Islamic teachings, parental carelessness and disobeying country’s law. Since the criminals don’t get punished for these types of violence therefore these harrowing incidents are increasing day by day. Protection services need to be improved and the law for criminals has to be reformed. Last but not the least we need to address some of these sensitive issues of our country to maintain the child’s dignity and self-confidence.
By Nabiha Kanwal – a student of Jinnah University for Women (BBA)