Child abuse: A curse on society

In a case against a person accused of sharing child pornographic content on social media, the Supreme Court (SC) of Pakistan has deplored the criminal act. The SC squarely held the sharing of child pornographic content as the main reason for increasing child abuse cases. The case highlights the prevailing evil trend of child abuse in Pakistan. Every year, child abuse and murder cases are reported, while many go unreported due to a social stigma attached to such incidents. The number of such cases has been rising not only in Pakistan but in neighbouring countries also. The increasing frustration in society, general and sexual, as well as unhealthy trends are behind such crime proclivities. Child abuse is the most heinous offence among other violent acts. In most of the cases, children with poor social backgrounds become victims of this horrific phenomenon.

The elimination of this social evil needs long term measures. The prevention of child abuse is the responsibility of both the government and society. An overall awareness campaign is needed to educate society about the existence of this heinous tendency. For its part, the government is required to take bold steps for purging society of this evil. In order to reduce the risk of sexual abuse for any child, there is a need to minimise opportunity that could provide an enabling environment for committing such crimes. Proper monitoring of places potentially prone to such incidents is necessary. Children are also needed to be imparted sex education. The government should introduce detailed laws and policies to address the issue. The victims should be encouraged not to conceal abuse. Rather they should be motivated to report the crime so that the culprits could be brought to justice and an example set for future offenders. It is imperative to ensure safety of children to protect them from kidnappings and sexual abuse. A collective effort is required to provide a safe environment for children. Child protection is a basic responsibility of parents. And then there is the community, society, law enforcement agencies and government. All children deserve a healthy childhood, and that is a multifaceted challenge for which everyone can contribute in one way or the other.