Karachi, September 09, 2017 (PPI-OT):Encourage 10,976 women and children who came forward and fought for their rights and protection in a world where 70 percent women and girls experience physical and/or sexual violence in their lifetime by their intimate partner (WHO), 92 percent women experience some form of sexual violence in public spaces in their lifetime (UN WOMEN), around 700 million women are married in their childhood (UNICEF), every 1 out of 10 or 120 million girls have experienced rape or some form of forced sexual intercourse in their life (UNICEF) and an estimated 246 million girls and boys experience school related violence every year (UNESCO); expressed Mr. Zia Ahmed Awan Advocate (founder of Madadgaar National Helpline 1098 and National Commissioner for Children). Through this Press Release, Helpline Release Their Data on Violence against Women and Children for the year 2016-2017 here Saturday.
He pressed that men and boys should understand their responsibility towards ensuring that women and girls receive respect and protection throughout their lifetime. He shared that according to World Economic Forum it will take another 169 years to close the gender gap at current pace. This is not acceptable, he said, we need to make this change happen today. He shared that during the year 2016-2017, Madadgaar National Helpline 1098 helped 10,976 people who called, visited helpline offices, contacted by SMS or Social Media. 6,196 of them were women and girls from ages 5 to 75. The rest included youth and boys.
Mr. Zia Awan shared that Madadgaar National Helpline is now Pakistan’s first 24/7 Helpline and our team is working around the clock since July 2016 to help women and girls survivors of violence and abuse. He shared that a total of 625 crisis callers were provided support after office hours in 2016-2017.
He further shared that most cases were reported to helpline from Sindh (7,900) and least were reported from Balochistan (456). Briefing on the factors at work behind this difference Mr. Awan said due to unrest, target killing of legal fraternity, weak law enforcement, absence of rule of law and protection services and overall social, cultural and religious barriers stop people especially women and girls to come forward and report violence perpetrated against them. He stated that according to Madadgaar National Helpline data, most cases were reported in August 2016 (1,391) and least cases were reported in August 2017 (209).
Mr. Zia Awan highlighted that Madadgaar National Helpline provided support to all 10,976 women, children and young people in 9,030 different issues concerning gender-based violence and violence against children. He shared that Madadgaar helped 5,355 women, children and young people through its in-house counselling and legal advice support while it referred 2,148 cases to its referral partners for supporting the survivors. Mr. Zia stated at this point that Madadgaar National Helpline has the largest referral network in Pakistan with approximately 1,500 referral partners across Pakistan.
While sharing the nature of cases reported to Madadgaar National Helpline he briefed that135 cases of children marriage, 89 cases of cyber-crime,202 cases of missing women, 901 cases of mental torture, 374 cases of physical abuse, 14 cases of trafficking, 25 cases of attempted murder, 8 cases of burnings, 37 cases of rape, 6 cases of sodomy, 25 cases of illegal confinement, 1,848 cases of missing children, 236 cases of kidnapping, 1,556 cases of domestic violence, 15 cases of Karo-Kari and 513 cases of harassment were among the total reports received by the helpline.
He pointed out that majority of violent crimes against women are prohibited by strict laws in Pakistan such as child marriage, sexual violence, domestic violence, Karo-Kari, kidnapping and harassment but still these heinous acts are being perpetrated. This only means that one, said laws are not being implemented and two, government functionaries and people at large are not aware of the complaining and redressing the complaints through proper channel, he explained. It also means, he added, there is a much disturbing reality that we are neglecting; the laws, awareness raising and sensitization at mass level isn’t making a difference within men and boys.
He stressed that government not only need to make better laws but also has the duty implement laws, build capacities of relevant public institutions and to inform the people about their existence, their scope and implications of violations through all means. Only the government has the resources to do so, he added.
He shared that 744 cases taken up by Madadgaar were of minorities, persons with different abilities and excluded populations. He said that during our work with these groups we found out that people from minority groups have an instilling fear of not being heard fairly because they are minority. Our law enforcement and legal system’s response is not reassuring at all in this matter and no effort is made within the two to restore faith of minorities in law and legal system.
He highlighted that cyber gender-based violence is on the rise in Pakistan and women, children, youth and LGBTQ community is particularly at its risk. He stated that the forms of GBV are rapidly transforming into cyber GBV and perpetrators are utilizing the web space as their hunting grounds since the law enforcement is not up to par in this area. Mr. Zia Awan demanded that federal and all provincial governments must do more in order to reduce gender gap, women’s access to justice, eliminate gender-based violence against women and increase protection for women and girls in Pakistan.
Madadgaar National Helpline is Pakistan’s first Helpline working since 2001 (last 17 years) for Children and Women suffering from an array of problems in Karachi, Lahore, Peshawar and Quetta. We provide telephonic, in-person and virtual counselling, crises intervention, guidance, legal aid and referral services to children and women. This is the flagship project of Lawyers for Human Rights and Legal Aid – LHRLA.
For more information, contact:
Madadgaar National Helpline 1098
Office No. 201-204, Second Floor, Panorama Centre-I,
Zaibunnisa Street, Saddar, Karachi, Pakistan
Tel: +92-21-111-911-922, 1098, +92-21-35685824