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Disturbing Increase in Child Sexual Abuse Cases in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa

The year 2022 revealed a deeply concerning trend as reported cases of child sexual abuse surged to 4,253 incidents in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, with 365 cases reported to the police. This distressing revelation came to light during a training workshop on child abuse prevention organized by the Friedrich Naumann Foundation Pakistan (FNF) in Peshawar. Attendees from various sectors came together to address this grave issue and promote awareness.

Child rights expert Imran Takkar highlighted the psychological toll on victims and stressed the pressing need for action. He disclosed that the reported cases indicated a 30 percent increase compared to the previous year, with an alarming average of 12 children falling victim to sexual abuse daily. These victims endure severe psychological consequences, grappling with fear and mental health challenges.

Symptoms of molestation were outlined, including nightmares, depression, fear, and inappropriate sexual behavior for a child’s age. Notably, 50 percent of child abuse victims knew their abusers, emphasizing the importance of vigilance within familiar circles. The workshop also shed light on the impact of socioeconomic challenges, which sometimes lead to child labor instead of education due to economic instability.

Senior journalist Shamim Shahid underscored the state’s responsibility to safeguard children’s rights, advocating for effective implementation of laws to combat child labor and ensure access to education. This disturbing surge in child sexual abuse cases emphasizes the urgency of collective efforts to protect vulnerable children and create a safer environment for their growth and well-being.

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