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Sunday Jan 14 2018

Punjab govt to introduce child protection curriculum in schools


LAHORE: Child protection curriculum will be introduced in schools in Punjab, the provincial government decided on Sunday.

A 20-member committee was formed by the Chief Minister of Punjab Shehbaz Sharif on safeguarding children on January 13, after a public outcry broke out when the violated body of a seven-year-old child was found in a garbage dump in Kasur. 

Minister for Law Rana Sanaullah is the convener of the committee with the minister for schools as the co-convener.

The committee — in its first session today — also proposed the recommendations to form a Deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) database and make amendments to the child protection laws in order to curb child abuse in the province.

Recommendations of the committee will be submitted to the CM Punjab by January 16.

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."

‘Child abuse awareness to be part of syllabus’

The Punjab Government Spokesperson Malik Ahmad Khan on Saturday had said that child abuse awareness will be taught in the school syllabus, 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 had said while speaking on Geo News programme Aaj Shahzeb Khanzada Kay Sath Friday night.

He had 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.

“Government is responsible to take steps for protection of children,” he had remarked.

Movement for child abuse awareness

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.

Parenting tips on how to help prevent child abuse

Citing statistics from social awareness organisation Aahung, Shahzeb had 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 had appealed to parents to particularly educate their children to not place blind trust in their relatives, teachers, friends and any other acquaintances.


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