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Tackling Child Vulnerabilities in Pakistan’s Sindh Province

Tackling Child Vulnerabilities through Child Protection Units (CPUs) in Pakistan’s Sindh Province

by Amir Murtaza
June 2, 2014

Child protection is a serious issue of concern in Pakistan as children face multiple forms of violence, abuse and exploitation. It is a fact that children have been amongst the most helpless sections of the society and therefore they are dependent on others for protection and care.

More than two decades back Pakistan ratified the landmark UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. However, a general awareness and respect for the rights of children is absent in the society. Due to increasing incidents of violence, exploitation, neglect and abuse of children; the government, NGOs, INGOs and UN agencies have taken several steps to protect the children in the country.

Child Welfare is a part of Social Welfare Department (SWD), Government of Sindh. The department is committed to the protection and promotion of child rights in the province. Child Welfare has been coordinating and cooperating with Civil Society Organizations (CSOs), international and UN organizations to protect the vulnerable sections of the society, notably children both male and female.

Social Welfare Department in coordination and support of UNICEF has established Eleven (11) Child Protection Units (CPUs) in different parts of Sindh province including Karachi, Hyderabad, Mirpurkhas, Tando Mohammad Khan, Badin, Sanghar, Sukkur, Jacobabad, Kashmore, Ghotki and Shikarpur.

The establishment of the Child Protection Units (CPUs) in different parts of the province is part of the mechanism intended to strengthen the gate- keeping function at the local level by introducing a single point of contact for families and children who need support.

Child Protection Units (CPUs) provide a variety of services, directly or through networking partners, to children and their families. These services included:
• Child Helpline 1121
• Protection
• Guidance
• Counselling
• Psychological support
• Psycho-social support
• Birth registration
• Referral services
• Health (through referral partners)
• Education (through referral partners)
• Financial help (through referral partners)

Child Protection Units (CPUs) is primarily a crises intervention facility providing support to children, and their families, through guidance, counseling and referral services.

The CPU facilitates children, victim of abuse, violence or neglect, and provides immediate help through the referral network with the law enforcement agencies, police, doctors, hospitals psychiatrists, shelter, legal and other services according to their needs.

Only in 2014; the Child Protection Units (CPUs) have provided help to a number of children, and their families, in cases of abuse, violence, missing children, family tracing, early child marriage, corporal punishment, birth registration, health, education and financial help.

*************

Amir Murtaza is a senior researcher, analyst and writer on social development issues, especially pertaining to women, youth and children.

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