Child abuse and specifically sexual abuse is a persistent problem in Pakistan, where societal taboos suppress frank conversations about the issue, leaving children and parents ill-equipped to deal with abuse. Reported cases of child sexual abuse have risen, and so should the efforts to combat this issue.
Safer Society for Children has been initiated by the Information Technology University of the Punjab (ITU) to address the issue of child sexual abuse through workshops in Sheikhupura and Kasur targeting children, parents and teachers, police, and healthcare professionals allowing them to recognize and respond appropriately to instances of abuse. The curricula for all workshops will be tailored to each participant group’s needs and sensitivities. It is being developed after a phase of comprehensive research with focus groups with the target audience and the consultation of doctors, psychologists, and researchers. The program also includes a strong monitoring and evaluation component. This project will also develop an online course based on the Mandatory Reporting Course in the United States.
The project is hosted at the School of Humanities and Social Sciences at ITU and will be executed as a cooperative agreement with the U.S. Embassy, Pakistan with technical input on international best practices by the American Professional Society on the Abuse of Children and the faculty in the College of Social Work at Ohio State University.