Rate of child abuse increased courtesy to Covid-19 lockdown, says Bangladesh Shishu Adhikar Forum
In the first semi annum of 2020, at least 1,387 children in Bangladesh have faced abuse in one form or another, as per a report.
Bangladesh Shishu Adhikar Forum (BSAF) – a national network of non-government organizations (NGOs) actively engaged in child rights work – published their findings on the overall status of child abuse in the country from January to June via a press release on Tuesday.
“The country is going through a tough time due to the increasing spread of coronavirus. But even this terrible crisis could not stop child abuse. The notable increase in the number of child abuse cases at this time is an alarming matter,” said BSAF.
From January 1 till June 30, at least 1,387 children in Bangladesh have been subjected to various forms of violence and abuse, read the press release.
The children’s rights body published their findings based on newspaper reports of 15 national dailies of the country.
However, the organization could not gather data from March 15 to April 15 owing to the lockdown, which means the numbers would be higher if another month was taken into account.
If 1,387 is averaged to five months, then approximately 277 children faced abuse in a month’s time. If one were to add that to the sum, then the total figure would be at least 1,664 or higher.
Thus, it is reasonable to assume that the actual number will definitely be higher than what is reflected in the data, the organization stated.
The organization documented 552 unnatural child deaths, 122 murders, 365 cases of sexual abuse, 112 children kidnapped or missing, 94 victims of violence, 97 cases of accidents, and 45 victims of early child marriage.
Of the 552 unnatural deaths, 79 were suicides, 122 were road accidents, 208 drownings, 24 electrocutions, and the other 119 deaths were due to snake bites, falling from trees, burning, among others.
In the 122 child murders, 13 were killed after being kidnapped, 10 were killed by their own parents, 12 were raped and then killed, and four were beaten to death.
There were 365 cases of rape and sexual harassment. Of them, 227 were rapes, 60 were attempted rapes, and 66 were sexual harassments, while nine were victims of child pornography. Five of the rape victims also committed suicide.
Also, there were 112 cases of kidnapped or missing children. Forty-one children went missing, 55 were kidnapped, and there were 12 attempted kidnappings. Notably, 13 children were killed after being kidnapped, and 13 were found dead after they went missing.
Furthermore, there were 22 cases of attempted murder. Sixty-one children went through physical abuse, nine of whom were brutally tortured by their parents. These also include torture by teachers at educational institutions, and abuse after being accused of theft.
There were 45 incidents related to child marriage. Thirty-one of them were rescued, while 10 became victims of early marriage.
From 9 April to 30 June, at least 139 children in the country tested positive for Covid-19, of whom eight died, according to various media reports.
Reviewing news published by various dailies, BSAF found that 32 children died with symptoms of Covid-19 but their cause of death was not investigated.