The rate of child abuse incidents including death, rape, and attempted murder, increased in 2021 compared to the previous year, reveals a recent study.
In 2021, 818 children were raped. It was 626 in 2020. Of all the child rape victims, 10 were boys.
This was revealed in a report, 'The State of Children in Bangladesh 2021,' prepared and released by Manusher Jonno Foundation (MJF) in an online press conference on Tuesday.
The report was prepared from news published in eight national dailies over the whole year.
As many as 183 children were killed, and a 135 murder attempts were made in 2021.
In 2020, 145 children were murdered.
In the report, MJF said a majority of these children, especially the relatively young ones, were raped by neighbours while playing or lured by acquaintances. Teenage girls were raped, trapped in love affairs. Even younger children were raped by family and relatives.
In some incidents, cases were filed and some perpetrators were punished as well. But the number of rape incidents has not gone down and rape trials are usually lengthy, the report added.
The report also said 78 children committed suicide in 2021, of whom 57 were boys and 21 were girls. The total number of children committing suicide was 34 and the number of injured who attempted suicide, was 23 in 2020.
In the report, poor exam results, family resentments, love affairs, eve teasing, rape and attempted rape, being deprived of justice after being raped, or becoming cybercrime or blackmail victims, were identified as reasons for suicide and attempted suicide.
In a separate analysis of hazardous child labour, the report said 38 girl children were abused in 2021, the highest number of them being in Dhaka.
38 girls, including domestic help, were abused in different forms, including rape. Of them, 12 died, 24 were injured, and two committed suicide.
In his speech as chief guest, Md Muhibuzzaman, additional secretary, ministry of women and children affairs, said the information gathered from the news, gives a picture of the trend in these crimes.
"We gather information from 15 newspapers and daily incoming calls on 109, the hotline number. A database is prepared from these sources," he said.
Muhibuzzaman said 1941 incidents of sexual violence were recorded in 2021. Of these, 277 incidents were related to rejection, 18 to extra marital affairs, 45 to previous enmity, and 20 to family conflict. The reasons for other incidents could not be ascertained from media reports.
As many as 52 people died in sexual violence while 18 died, involved in extra marital affairs, he added.
He explained that a stalemate has been created for the past two years by Covid. Law enforcement and socially responsible people were busy otherwise, activities which helped the rise in such crimes.
"The rate of rape and child abuse has increased and the government is aware of it. We are monitoring it and the criminals are being punished," Muhibuzzaman said.
MJF Executive Director Shaheen Anam said, all including the government, NGOs, civil society, and the media will have to work together to create social awareness against child abuse.