With approximately 8,548 cases filed in the National Child Protection Authority (NCPA), child harassment continues to remain an issue in Sri Lanka.
While the NCPA’s overall policy vision is to ensure that all children in the country are protected from abuse, exploitation, neglect and other forms of violence and harm and that the affected children receive appropriate care and support as they develop into adulthood, children are yet exposed to risk on a daily basis.
It was noted that in 2010, 3892 cases were reported out of which 905 fell under the child cruelty category. 2015 reported 10,732 cases out of which 2317 fell under child cruelty and 2016 reported 9361 cases with over 2180 under child cruelty.
Colombo stood as the district with the highest reports marking 720. In 2014 numbers rose but held Colombo as the highest once again with 1403 cases. In 2017 1,232 complaints continued to denote Colombo as the district with the highest reports. Alongside Colombo, Gampaha recorded 925; Kalutara, 550; Kurunegala, 647; Ratnapura, 490; Galle, 564; Jaffna, 177; Vavunia, 122; Batticaloa, 170; Mulativu, 125 and Killinochchi, 117 between January to December last year.
While obscene publication, procuring to beg, trafficking restricted articles, cruelty to children, sexual harassment, kidnapping from lawful guardianship, abduction, soliciting a child, trafficking, rape, unnatural offence, a gross indecency, grave sexual abuse, neglect of children, child labour, compulsory education, domestic violence, juvenile delinquency and MISC are the types of abuse filed under the NCPA, cruelty is the mostly reported form of harassment in Sri Lanka. 905 acts of cruelty were noted in 2010 and 1156 in 2011, 1516 in 2012, 2030 in 2013, 2160 in 2014 and a total of 2317 were filed accordingly.
Like so, children are harassed and abused in great numbers whereby abuse prevails in the places we believe to be the safest. Homes, schools, places of worship and neighbourhoods are the places most likely to be risk prone. Children are often looked upon as the epitome of innocence which is what is taken advantage of. All forms of harassment, starting from cruelty at home can leave them scarred not only physically but mentally and lasts a lifetime, hampering their ability to someday lead a happy and healthy life. Violence impacts children from every community irrespective of their status, culture or background.