An alarming rise in violence against women and children has been noted in Punjab, according to a recent report undertaken by the Sustainable Social Development Organisation (SSDO), an advocacy group that focuses on research-based solutions.
The findings, covering the period from January 1st to April 30th, paint a worrisome picture of the prevalent issue, with a substantial number of cases being reported to the Punjab Police.
During the study period, the Punjab Police registered a shocking total of 10,365 cases of violence against women, while 1,768 cases of violence against children were documented. However, it is widely believed that the actual number of such incidents could be even higher, as many cases go unreported due to social stigmas and a lack of confidence in the law enforcement system.
Delving deeper into the research, specific types of crimes came to light, exposing distressing realities. Kidnappings of women emerged as a prominent concern, with a staggering 5,551 reported cases in just four months.
This shocking figure translates to an average of two kidnappings occurring every hour. Notably, Lahore accounted for the highest number of cases, with 1,427 women falling victim to this crime.
The study also highlighted physical assault, with a total of 2,818 reported cases, once again pinpointing Lahore as the district with the highest incidence (504 cases), followed by Sheikhupura (262) and Faisalabad (225). Disturbingly, the research revealed 1,111 cases of rape and 613 cases of human trafficking, where Lahore featured prominently as the district with the highest numbers (139 rapes and 210 trafficking cases). Faisalabad also reported a significant number of rape cases (117).
The study also shed light on violence against women within the private sphere. Domestic violence cases totaled 219, with Gujranwala emerging as the district with the highest incidents (64), followed closely by Lahore (38). Furthermore, 53 cases of honor killings were reported, with Rahim Yar Khan identified as a hotspot district with eight cases.
Regarding violence against children, the research uncovered deeply troubling statistics. Sexual violence emerged as the most prevalent form, with an alarming 858 cases reported during the study period, equating to nearly seven children falling victim to sexual abuse every single day. Faisalabad (82) and Lahore (74) were the districts with the highest numbers.
Additionally, 613 children were reported as kidnapped, averaging five abductions per day. Disturbingly, Lahore alone accounted for one-third of the cases (210). The study also highlighted 221 cases of human trafficking involving children, with Chiniot comprising almost one-fifth of these cases (44). Shockingly, the research also revealed 48 cases of child murder, 24 cases of child labor, and four cases of child marriage.
Syed Kausar Abbas, the Executive Director of SSDO, commended the Punjab Police for their efforts in diligently registering these cases and maintaining a comprehensive database.
However, he stressed the urgent need to address the distressing prevalence of violence against women and children. With over 12,000 reported cases within the first four months of the year, the study serves as a wake-up call, demanding targeted interventions and concerted efforts from policymakers and stakeholders.
It is important to note that the data presented in this research study was obtained through a “Right to Information” request filed under Article 19-A of the Constitution of Pakistan, enabling access to public information from government entities such as the Punjab Police.