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Online Violence against Children: Another Side Effect of the COVID-19 Pandemic

The COVID-19 pandemic crisis has pushed millions of children out of school. For many of them, the only way to access education has been through the internet. Even though it is not accessible to everyone, online classes have become the only way for several children to interact with their peers, teachers, and family. But the online world also poses many dangers for children, particularly if they spend many hours connected without direct adult supervision.

To discuss the dangers affecting children in the online world, we interviewed Mr. Iftikhar Mubarik, from Lahore, Pakistan. A father of two, Mr. Mubarik is the Founder and Executive Director of Search for Justice, an organization working to further child rights and protection in Pakistan through awareness and sensitization, capacity building, children participation, organizational strengthening and policy advocacy.

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Protecting Children from Sexual Abuse and Online Exploitation in the Wake of COVID-19: An Open Discussion from Pakistan

The wellbeing of many children around the world has been severely affected as a direct consequence of the measures taken to stop the spread of COVID-19, like the closure of schools and prolonged lockdowns.

The United Nations Secretary-General has reported a global surge in domestic-based violence linked to COVID-19, and calls to helplines in some countries have reportedly doubled. Spending more time on virtual platforms can leave children vulnerable to online sexual exploitation and grooming, as predators look to exploit the COVID-19 pandemic.

With this in mind, Search For Justice – CAN Pakistan, and the Child Protection & Welfare Bureau – Government of the Punjab, hosted an online session on Protecting Children from Sexual Abuse and Online Exploitation, reaching 130 participants.

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