02 December, 2010

Society’s role against child abuse stressed

Published in Pakistan Observer on 1 Dec. 2010
Sana Jamal
Islamabad- Ninety four percent of doctors of Rawalpindi and Islamabad have termed the Child Sexual Abuse (CSA) as a serious problem in Pakistan and recommended a training programme for medical professionals. These findings were shared during a launching ceremony of Rozan’s Qualitative Research on “Child Sexual Abuse: in Rawalpindi and Islamabad”.

“Child Abuse is not an isolated issue but it has long-term effects on economy, health and education sectors of a country” said Dr. Zehra Kamal, a Psychological expert speaking at the launch of the Rozan report on ‘Child Sexual Abuse’ (CSA). She said that keeping in mind the seriousness of the issue it should be the first priority of the health agencies.

“CSA is the least explored and least acknowledged form of child abuse in Pakistan” said Dr. Mobeena Fatima, Research Associate of Health Services Academy. Sharing the details of research, Dr. Anita Aijaz Psychiatrist from Rozan lamented that CSA was not given importance in Pakistan’s medical education.

Most common cause of child sexual abuse was identified as sexual frustration, lack of sexual awareness, easy access, poverty, parental neglect, sexual and mental abnormality, drug abuse, revenge and commercial exploitation. CSA includes physical, psychological and sexual abuse of child.

Aangan is Rozan’s children programme working on the emotional and mental health of children and on child sexual abuse in particular. From Sept. to Dec. 2009, Aangan conducted a small-scale study with doctors in the Islamabad and Rawalpindi area to explore their understanding of and attitudes towards child sexual abuse in Pakistan. Both quantitative and qualitative methods were used to collect the data by using a questionnaire, focus group discussions and in-depth Interviews with doctors in Rawalpindi and Islamabad.

The research recommended that it was important to revise the existing component on CSA in the curriculum for medical students to make it more comprehensive and called for training programme for doctors.