THE state of violence against children in Bangladesh is worrying in that, as Bangladesh Shishu Adhikar Forum says, at least 418 children were murdered in 2018 while 4,566 faced violence. Shishu Adhikar Forum, a network of 169 non-governmental organisations, in its report based on news published in 2018 in 15 daily newspapers says that violence against children increased by 18.75 per cent in 2018 compared with the incidence of 2017 while the number of children’s murdered increased by 23.3 per cent in comparison with the number of 2017. Besides, the report says, 289 children committed suicide, at least 812 children were sexually assaulted, 579 abducted and rescued, 262 tortured, 296 were assaulted and 172 fell victim to child marriage and other child rights abuse in the year. What remains to be more worrying is that 61 children were murdered in 2918 in the capital alone, the highest in the country, with 27 children being murdered in Narayanganj coming in the second position. A situation like this, given that children account for 45 per cent of Bangladesh’s total population, is enough to mar the progress of the nation in other sectors.
Violence against children can often result in death. It may lead to severe injuries, impair brain and nervous system development, result in negative coping and health risk behaviour, contribute to a wide range of non-communicable diseases as children grow older and impact opportunities and future generations. Children exposed to violence could also drop out of school, find it difficult to find and keep jobs and be at high risk for later victimisation. The report in question also points to the government’s failure in that at least 237 children died in road traffic accidents, 505 died by drowning, 60 died by electrocution, 46 died from wrong treatment and 7 died in inland waterway accidents. This shows further governmental failure in protecting the rights of the children. In a situation like this, the demand for the establishment of agencies to especially look in the issues related to children, a government department and a commission, warrants attention. The protection of children’s rights and the institution of safeguards against violence against children call out the government on working on a number of fronts at a time. The government should have some mechanisms at the state and societal levels. But as children spend more time in schools than any other single place besides home, the government should also equip schools adequately to tackle violence against children.
The government, under the circumstances, must enforce related laws, bring in changes in norms and values if required, make environments safe for children, provide parents with training, strengthen income and economic condition in society and provide children with life and social skills training to head off violence against children. The concern is not just about the children, but the society they grow up in and the role they would play in society after they grow up.
Want stories like this in your inbox?
Sign up to exclusive daily email
More Stories from Editorial