Full-fledged campaign launched to protect, prevent child sexual abuse, says Sarah Ahmed
By K A Mian
LAHORE: The Child Protection & Welfare Bureau (CP&WB) Chairperson Ms Sarah Ahmad has said utmost efforts are underway to transform the organisation into the best welfare department of South Asia.
On special directions of the Chief Minister Punjab, Sardar Usman Buzdar, an awareness campaign under title ‘Mass Awareness Campaign’ aiming at to protect, prevent child sexual abuse has been launched across the province by the Child Protection & Welfare Bureau (CP&WB), she expressed these views while talking to Daily The Business here on Saturday.
“The core objective of this campaign was to create awareness among citizens of Punjab about CP&WB’s child helpline 1121 for the eradication of child abuse, child beggary, child domestic labour violence and street children from the province,” she stated, adding a full-fledged campaign was launched in Lahore and apart from of South Punjab in Multan, Dera Ghazi Khan and Taunsa and then Rawalpindi.
“The awareness streamers were placed throughout Punjab and flyers were distributed to propagate this cause”.
The chairperson concluding that the teams of CP&WB would provide trainings on child abuse in 84 police stations and conduct workshops in police lines.
“This campaign is still going on with full throttle and has resulted in an increase in helpline calls by 50 percent. As well as, all these campaigns are being carried out on a regular basis across Punjab,” Ms Sarah said.
She said that the Child Protection & Welfare Bureau Punjab had addressed more than 30 cases of child abuse all across Punjab since her joining in February 2019. Due to her personal efforts and proper fallowed up the culprits in all these cases have been arrested, she maintained.
“The chairperson highlighted that following the vision of the government, a model of public private partnership by involving private organizations has been incorporated to contribute for the welfare of children residing in the bureau,” she was of the view.
She reiterated that one important example of this is the formulation of an exit policy for children over 18, which never existed.
She added that a unique system was also designed on basis of her personal experiences where children above 18 years can be employed by private organisations like Maria B, a renowned fashion designer and Hifsa Khan, a famous salon owner.
Moreover, the agreements had been signed with different NGOs to contribute financially to the bureau, thus reducing the burden on the Punjab Government, she highlighted.
As many as 741 child beggars had been rescued in last five months by the CP&WB teams to get rid from child beggary, now all these children are given proper attention with education, food and other facilities at the centres, chairperson revealed.
The trend towards child beggary has been reduced by 20 percent in the province after stipulated crackdown against baggers in which some of raid were accompanied herself to ensure the rescue operation on daily basis, she stated.
Furthermore, some 10 adoptions of newborn infants have been facilitated after conducting interviews of the concerned since February 2019, she informed that cameras have been installed in rooms of the CPIs in the bureau all offices across province to prevent any case of child abuse as the bureau deals with street children.
The chairperson highlighted that there were so many marvelous initiatives taken by the CP&WB since Feb, 2019 to establish the one of the best welfare organization in South Asia like arranging, an extra-curricular activities, installation of cameras in all CPIs, renovation of activity room in child protection school, organizing marriage ceremony, and awareness seminars & workshops in collaboration with education institutions.
She stated that the Child Protection & Welfare Bureau main objective for conducting mass campaigns/walks to create awareness against child abuse, protection, and exploitation of children.
Ms Ahmed attributed that it is need of hours that parents should educate their children about what is right and wrong and how could they prevent themselves.
She urged that an age-appropriate communication with children about child sexual abuse and self-protection are among one of the key protective measures that adults can undertake.
The implications of not giving age-appropriate information, knowledge and transferring skills to children can be very damaging.
The chairperson reiterated that silence on this issue can perpetuate further abuse, and leave children suffering over long periods of time for something that can be stopped with timely intervention.
She appealed that parents should be taken responsibility to look after their children whenever they left home. While stressing upon the parents responsibility, Ms Sarah said that where the state is ultimately responsible of such issues, likewise it is the predominant responsibility of parents to watch their children and don’t blindly trust to any stranger.
“The prime objective of the Child Protection & Welfare Bureau is to make Punjab free child-abuse province and best welfare organization.”