Dhaka, July 12, 2020: The rate of child abuse in June has increased compared to last April and May. In particular, the number of child marriages has increased at an alarming rate. In June alone, 462 girls were victims of child marriage. 206 child marriages were prevented during the same period. The number of child marriages was 180 in May and the number of child marriage prevented was 233.
Mentionably, there has been no specific budgetary allocation in the current fiscal for implementation of the National Plan of Action (NPA) to End Child Marriage (2018-30) nor in the social safety net allocation for girls and adolescent affected by coronavirus.
In addition to child marriage, a total of 2698 children were subjected to various forms of abuse during this period. The number of tortures in May was 2161. The rate of newly-abused children is 46 percent (138 children). 61% children became victims of domestic violence.
In June, a total of 12,740 women and children became victims of violence in 53 districts of the country. Of these, 3332 women and children became victims for the first time. The total number of victims in May was 13,494. Although the overall rate of violence against women and children in June is lower than in May, the rate of child abuse has increased.
Manusher Jonno Foundation (MJF) collected this information in June by talking to a total of 57,704 women and children from its 53 project areas to find out how women and children are coping during Covid situation. Of these, 12,740 women and children were victims of violence. The number of women victim is 9844 and the number of children victim is 2896. Among the children, the number of girls is 1677 which is 58 percent and the number of boys is 1219 or 42 percent.
A large number of children became victims of child marriage during June. One of the reasons for the increase in child marriage is that various departments of the local government are busy with relief and management of corona issues and are not able to pay much attention to the prevention of child marriage. In addition, due to the closure of schools induced by corona and the impact of social insecurity, deprivation and influence of neighbors are forcing parents to breach the law and secretly arranging marriage for girls. MJF has reached out to concerned authorities urging to create awareness on prevention of violence against women and child marriage.
In Bangladesh, 59 percent of girls get married before their 18th birthday. And 22 percent of girls get married before reaching15 years. (References UNICEF). Bangladesh ranks fourth in the world in terms of incidences of child marriages. The Bangladesh government is committed to ending both child and forced marriages by 2030.
However, more children became victim of violence than child marriage during June, the number is 1764 children who became victims of domestic violence. Besides, 292 children were tortured in the workplace. 9 children were raped and 99 girls became victims of attempted rape. 41 children were killed, 10 abducted and 12 sexually assaulted during June.
Of the total women victims, 1956 or 20 percent became victims for the first time. Like previous months, 98 percent of women, or 9,693 were victims of domestic violence. Of these, 4,822 were victims of domestic violence, 3,009 were financially deprived, 1,639 were physically abused, 223 were sexually abused, 96 were sexually harassed, 35 were raped and were victims of attempted rape, 14 were killed and five were sexually assaulted harassed while seeking relief.
MJF and its partner NGOs provided counseling, follow-up for delivery of services, communication support, medical and legal assistance to local leaders, including children and women victims of violence.
MJF presented its findings through an online press conference this morning. Shaheen Anam, Executive Director of MJF highlighted key findings of the telephone survey, conducted with the support of DFID, SIDA and Global Affairs Canada. Revealing this information MJF Executive Director Shaheen Anam said that compared to data of May, the trend is very alarming for child marriage and “the situation is likely to worse.” Ms. Anam urged the government to put emphasis on preventing child marriages besides focusing on other necessities like food assistance and income opportunities amid the shutdown situation. During the press conference, the executive directors of two non-governmental organizations also shared their filed experiences.
Children are abused by their closest persons i.e. parents and women by their husbands, father and mothers-in-laws. As both men and women begun returning to work after public holidays came to an end, the rate of violence against women is slightly lower compared to previous months, However, children are still confined due to school closures and the rate of abuse against them has increased.
For more information, please contact:
Shahana Huda Ranjana
Senior Coordinator, Media and Communication
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