Prevention and management of violence against children requires a multidisciplinary
approach. Countries and regions tackle this problem according to their understanding and capacity,
and therefore these teams work differently in different countries and regions.
Objectives: Current study is a bird’s eye view looking at the response to violence against children
through exploring multidisciplinary approaches and challenges in child protection in high, uppermiddle,
and lower-middle-income countries.
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Today, Pakistan has the highest percentage of young people in its history, who can become
champions of child rights through channelizing their energy. Voices for Children’s Aspirations
and Needs (VCAN) student society at the University of Lahore is one such student body,
working to promote child rights and eliminate violence against children.
Child Rights Department and PAHCHAAN worked with VCAN student society to understand youth participation to volunteer for child rights. The study identifies factors contributing to young people’s motivation to join VCAN student society working for children's rights and influence their participation in activities, along with attitudinal shift. It got published in Elsevier Journal-Child Abuse and Neglect, having 2.57 impact factor.
Children are not the face of the COVID-19 pandemic; however, they are considered its “biggest
victims” and the ensuing crisis is likely to have a profound effect on their wellbeing. The
“secondary pandemic” of economic depression is going to affect the children most because of its
socio-economic fallout and at times, due to the measures being taken to mitigate the impact of
the pandemic. Children in low and low-middle income countries like Pakistan are expected to be
the worst affected in the post COVID-19 crisis. Lockdowns and school closures are adversely
affecting the families, resulting in extreme poverty, learning crisis due to insufficient resources
for online education, and lack of access to health care along with a plethora of child protection
Dr. Naeem Zafar (Head of Child Rights Department, President PAHCHAAN) and Dr. Tufail Muhammad (Chairman of the Child Rights Committee) prepared this policy brief that provides an in-depth analysis of the challenges that the children are facing and likely to face as an aftermath of COVID-19 crisis in terms of their health and nutrition, education, and protection. This policy brief identifies a series of recommendations and suggested immediate actions to be taken by the government and policymakers focusing attention to issues related to child rights and services in COVID-19 crisis.
Child Rights Department conducted a needs assessment survey designed for the faculty of the
University of Lahore to assess their current knowledge and attitude about child rights. It got
published in Pakistan Pediatric Journal.
The findings of this study provide baseline data regarding the knowledge and attitude of faculty of the University of Lahore towards child rights which can be considered in planning and implementing future training programs in this field. It reflects the importance of knowledge strengthening of the rights of children to develop positive attitudes towards child rights in our society. Despite having an understanding of various aspects of child rights, the results revealed a lack of knowledge regarding laws on child rights.
Managing child abuse and neglect cases is extremely difficult in low-income countries, with daunting challenges in health, social welfare, education, and legal systems. PAHCHAAN initiated Child Protection Unit (CPU) at Children Hospital Lahore, Pakistan is the first hospital-based Child Protection Unit in South Asia. Although it could not be replicated, it has managed to sustain for 10 years.Click to see full report
The purpose of study was to gain insight into the magnitude of assault to children and know the proportions of different ages and genders of victims of Child Sex Abuse. This report does not verify whether the assault actualy took place. Results of the test were not handed over to the research team as many as cases were still pending in the court of law and the authorities did not want to divulge the informationClick to see full report
Pakistan has a youthful population. About half of the population is under the age of 20 years. According to a survey conducted by the Federal Bureau of Statistics, 3.6 million children were 5 engaged in labor in Pakistan. A recent national survey found that 40 percent boys and 25 percent girls in the age range of 15-17 are working. The latest labor force survey has revealed that 17 6 percent of the boys and 6 % of the girls in the age range of 10 to 14 are part time of labor force. Primary education in Pakistan is characterized by low enrolment and high dropout rates. The number of schools in Pakistan, especially in rural areas is quite insufficient for the growing number of children of school going age. In the rural areas, more than one-third of all children do not even complete primary education and drop out. The net enrolment rate is only 46 and 38 percent for boys and girls of five to nine years respectively. Despite government's recent efforts to increase the accessibility to primary education by making it free and compulsory, a huge proportion of children are dropped out of school as education is found to be of low quality and 7 too expensive for parents to afford. Mostly the school dropouts from the poor households end up on the streets where they are exposed to all types of abuse and exploitation.Click to see full report
In Pakistan, there is no mandated system of reporting child exploitation, abuse and/or neglect. There is a paucity of reliable statistics and published data on the prevalence of CSEC and CSA in the country. Like other major public health and social problems, it is not easy to document the actual incidence or prevalence of child abuse. It is always difficult to obtain information on sensitive and highly stigmatized issues, and even more difficult when the victims are children who cannot narrate their woes. In such a socio-cultural setting, most cases of child abuse, particularly CSA, remain under cover and go unreported.Click to see full report
There has been a major technological revolution during the past decade, changing the dimensions and scope of
communications. While this has resulted in rapid exchange of information at nominal cost and increased the number of users
through easy replication, there are certain related disadvantages which pose risks to the protection of children.
A lack of appropriate legislation, ignorance on the part of the caregivers, callousness by the service providers in acting as
deterrents, and loose implementation of policies by the law enforcers has resulted in exposing children to pornography in
various forms and degrees.
Previous work on the issue in Pakistan has been limited to studying the dynamics of children being exposed to internet-based pornography. The research and consequent awareness programs were carried out by Child Rights & Abuse Committee of Pakistan Paediatric Association and Save the Children Sweden. In order to expand the scope of the previous research, the current study was commissioned by Save the Children Sweden and Working Group against Child Sexual Abuse. Pahchaan conducted the study in Lahore through its group of interns.
Pakistan’s high population growth rate and rapid urbanisation have given rise to more and more
children working and living on the streets. This study has found that these children are vulnerable
to all forms of abuse including sexual exploitation.
Runaways, school dropouts and illiterate children from poor, often large, sometimes abusive families usually gather at bus terminals and other urban centres because the opportunities for work are plentiful. But the same places present a risk to these children due to the prevalence of sexual exploiters who are aware of their desperate situation.
The main factor pushing these boys into commercial sex is the need for basics such as food, clothing, accommodation and money – and there are many people willing to pay for sex. Most boys forced into prostitution were sexually abused before they entered the commercial sex trade. Children from the Afghan refugee community are particularly vulnerable because of their extreme poverty and a lack of protection and parental supervision. Peer pressure is another important factor, particularly in case of boys with alternative sexual identities; zenanas and chawas (boys with transvestite and feminine characteristics) make up the majority of boy victims of prostitution in Lahore.