Children are exposed to many forms of violence across the world.
These can take the form of sexual assault, physical violence, corporal punishment, psychological abuse and neglect. In Bangladesh, children face these abuses in private and public settings, homes, schools, streets, workplaces and institutions.
The laws for protecting children are not yet fully implemented or standardised. Services to children often lack in quality and equity. There is also not enough human resources and funding for institutions that have key roles in child protection.
The status of Bangladeshi children are still rooted in conservative social norms, attitudes and practices that may contribute to critical rights violations.
Violent discipline, sexual abuse, child labour, child marriage and psychological punishment are still common. Poverty is a major issue leading to violence.
Sexual abuse cases are hard to assess. Justice is inhibited by stigma and fear of risks. Parents and caregivers are insufficiently aware of laws and services.
Bangladesh has laws on violence against women and children, but does not cover sexual harassment. But reported incidents of sexual harassment are on the rise. In extreme cases, adolescents die by suicide or become victims of more violence.
There is limited data on abuse committed against disabled children but available information points to a spike in sexual violation of girls with disabilities.
Very young children continue to be employed in hazardous conditions. As many as 1.7 million children, mostly boys, are engaged in child labour. Many young girls are hidden in domestic work.
Adolescent girls experience higher rates of domestic and sexual violence, domestic servitude and exclusion from education, than boys.
Bangladesh also has the world’s highest rate of marriage of girls under the age of 15.
They become more vulnerable to child marriage and trafficking in the context of natural disasters caused by climate change to which Bangladesh is highly prone.
Many married adolescents experience and accept physical and sexual violence. As many as 33 per cent of adolescent girls believe a husband is justified in hitting his wife.
The lack of opportunities for fair employment or apprenticeship is pushing older adolescent boys and girls towards unsafe migration. These children on the move face challenges to their security in all stages of their movement.