The incidents of child rape and murder have marked an alarming rise across the country in recent times, posing a great concern among the child rights activists.
Children fall victims to rape or murder one after another, but the members of the law enforcement agencies are reportedly being unable to check the crimes despite having tough laws, rights campaigners alleged.
They blamed the culture of impunity, pornography, social and political unrest, drug addiction, degradation of social values and lack of awareness for the sharp rise in violence against children.
Experts think the rate of child abuse will decline, if exemplary punishment is meted out to perpetrators.
At least 501 children were victims of rape in the first 10 months (January-October) of the year, according to the statistics of the Bangladesh Shishu Adhikar Forum (BSAF).
Of the victims, 36 children were raped in January, 54 in February, 55 in March, 38 in April, 67 in May, 44 in June, 42 in July, 63 in August, 49 in September, and 53 in October.
However, the number of child rape incidents was 446 in 2016, 521 in 2015, 199 in 2014, 170 in 2013 and 85 in 2012.
The incidents of child murder are also increasing every day and 268 children were reportedly killed across the country in the last 10 months (January-October) of the current year.
Of them, 27 children were killed in January, 29 in February, 33 in March, 21 in April, 20 in May, 27 in June, 34 in July, 31 in August, 21 in September, and 25 in October.
The number of child murders were 265 in 2016, 292 in 2015, 366 in 2014, 218 in 2013 and 201 in 2012.
BSAF Director Abdus Shahid Mahmood said lack of justice and awareness of legal rights among people are the major reasons for the violence against children.
Demanding formulation of a law to protect witnesses and victims, the rights activist said, “Speedy investigation by skilled police officers and strict punishment to the criminals need to be ensured to reduce child rape.”
Mostafa Sohel Ahmed, executive director of Bangladesh Society for the Enforcement of Human Rights (BSEHR), said unemployment, impact of technology, culture of impunity and absence of enough cultural activities are a few common causes of the rise in child abuse.
Apart from ensuring exemplary punishment for the culprits, he suggested increasing social and cultural activities in society.
He also urged the political and social organisations to come forward to prevent violence against children and women.
Rights activist Advocate Salma Ali, executive director of Bangladesh National Women Lawyers’ Association, said the incidents of child rape are increasing as the offenders are not getting punishment due to huge backlog of cases and it encourages them to commit crimes again.
The victims are not getting proper assistance from the family and society. Sometimes, a victim’s family is not filing complaint as the culprits are influential persons, she also said.
She laid emphasis on ensuring quick and exemplary punishment to the culprits and creating awareness to reduce violence against children.