Saturday Jan 13, 2018
LAHORE: Chief Minister Punjab Shehbaz Sharif has formed a committee on safeguarding children to review and recommend measures to prevent the increasing trend of child abuse in our society, according to a notification issued Saturday.
Minister for law will be the convener of the committee with the minister for schools as the co-convener.
The Terms of reference of the committee include "to deliberate and recommend replication of AMBER Alert system in Punjab" and "propose SOP to immediately know, locate and recover missing children, and to make our society children-friendly."
Moreover, the committee will also "intelligently use ICT to protect children in streets, parks, schools and in other public places", "review existing laws and criminal investigation procedures apropos child abduction and child abuse", and "propose revisions in school curriculum to educate children in dealing with strangers and self-protection."
The first session of the committee has been summoned tomorrow (Sunday) and it has been directed to submit recommendations to CM Punjab by January 16.
Child abuse awareness will be taught in the school syllabus, said Government of Punjab Spokesperson Malik Ahmad Khan, adding that there is no other choice than to make the subject a part of the syllabus.
“We have no other choice than to include it [child abuse] in syllabus. We have to remove taboos on the issue. We will also hold dialogue with the people who oppose this move,” he said while speaking on Geo News programme Aaj Shahzeb Khanzada Kay Sath Friday night.
He also assured that the issue will become a part of the curriculum, adding that such high level of incidents is reported due to “lack of basic education” on the matter.
“Children are being victimised as they don’t know [what’s happening], they are not informed, they are mere innocent children, and they can be exploited easily. It is compulsory to make [child abuse awareness] part of the syllabus,” he remarked, adding the children should be aware of this “highest form of bestiality.”
He had also shared that a committee has been constituted to tackle the problem. The committee will hold deliberations and implement them as soon as possible, adding that the ToRs of the committee will be announced soon.
“Government is responsible to take steps for protection of children,” he remarked.
Malik Ahmad Khan also shared that the government is taking all steps to bring culprits to task. “The suspect will hopefully be arrested soon.”
On Thursday, Geo News anchor Shahzeb Khanzada urged all parents to talk, without delay, to their children about child abuse awareness and the need to inform immediately if they ever experience or witness any incident of abuse.
Citing statistics from social awareness organisation Aahung, Shahzeb informed that as many as 47 percent of child sexual abuse incidents are perpetrated by the relatives of the child. Around 43 percent of the perpetrators are acquaintances of the child, while only seven percent are strangers.
According to research, females on average are more likely than their male counterparts to report abuse to their parents.
Urging all parents to trust their children with no one, Shahzeb appealed to parents to particularly educate their children to not place blind trust in their relatives, teachers, friends and any other acquaintances.