The statistics are shocking. A report by Bangladesh Children's Rights Forum presents a very grim picture of the safety of children in our society, where more than 2000 children fell victim to different kinds of hazards last year. This has been culled from published reports, and one fears the actual figure might be even higher, since many incidents of violence against children go unreported.
The largest number fell victim to rape, and the incidence of child murder rose by more than 23 percent in 2018. Apart murder and rape, a good number of children were subjected to violence, torture and abduction, and the number of children's death by drowning nearly doubled from the previous year. Regrettably, the special provision in the child marriage act has been exploited to perpetuate this horrendous practice—a violation of children's right in itself.
One of the reasons for the incremental increase in the incidence of violence against children is the longwinded process of trial and the exploitation of the legal loopholes by the accused that allow the perpetrators to escape punishment or the case to ultimately fizzle out. Not only should exemplary punishment be made mandatory, arrangements should also be made to hasten the trial process. The government may also consider ostracising convicted child abusers from society or at least restricting their movement.
It says very little about a society that seems to be helpless in providing adequate safety and protection to the weakest section of our citizens—the children—particularly to the girls. And perhaps it is time the government, and the society at large, spent some time cogitating on the reasons of the dismal state of children's safety and determining measures to mitigate the situation. This cannot be allowed to continue.