A much higher number of children – 95.8% – are abused in various ways at home compared to that in their educational institutions and workplaces, find a survey report unveiled on Tuesday.
Most of the child abuse incidences are carried out by their parents and guardians, according to the findings of the survey conducted jointly by the Manusher Jonno Foundation (MJF) and INCIDIN Bangladesh.
Children with special needs are also being abused by their families and society only because of their disability. The survey - conducted in 11 districts from June 2020 to May 2021 – has also raised the issue of children's access to pornography.
The survey report titled "Violence against children in Bangladesh" was presented by INCIDIN Bangladesh, a non-governmental organisation, in collaboration with the Manusher Jonno Foundation at the Cirdap auditorium in the capital.
Of the children surveyed, 95.3% said they had experienced violence at home and outside the home – at school or at work – at some point in their lives. Of these, 96.2% are girls and 94.5% are boys.
Of the children, 86.9% are victims of physical violence at home. While about 81% of adults say that if a child disobeys their parents, they are in favour of corporal punishment. In this case, boys suffer more physical punishment than girls - 88.4% and 84.1% respectively.
Of the children, 55% said they are being sexually harassed by their families. Boys are more likely to be sexually harassed at home than girls – 60% and 50% respectively.
In addition, 82% of children are being abused in educational institutions. Around 82% are victims of physical violence and 24.1% are victims of sexual harassment. And 55.3% of the children are victims of violence in the workplace.
Of the victims of sexual harassment, 61.7% said they did not share it with anyone because of shame and fear of their parents and guardians while 52.7% said they did not realise at the time that they were being sexually harassed.
Dr Debapriya Bhattacharya, Distinguished Fellow at the Centre for Policy Dialogue (CPD), said, "Outside the home – in educational institutions and workplaces – children are victims of abuse, and the issue needs to be brought to the fore more vigorously to fix them."
Shaheen Anam, executive director of the Manusher Jonno Foundation, said, "The culture of silence must be broken. We need to open our mouths against any kind of child abuse. Counselling should be provided for the children's mental health."
"Unsafe family migration with children must be stopped. The offender who commits a crime against a child must be counselled properly and, if necessary, disciplinary action must be taken. We must adopt a community-based child protection policy," she added in her proposals.