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Sindh-flood-survivorsA child stands amongst the remains of buildings destroyed by the floods in Sindh province, Pakistan. Sindh is prone to extreme weather conditions, when children are especially vulnerable. Photo source: Wikimedia Commons | DFID - UK Dept for Intl Development

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

By Amir Murtaza, Pakistan Correspondent for Safe World. June 2014.

Lack of Awareness of Children's Rights

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 members of 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 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 Protection Units

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 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 include:

  • 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) are primarily a crises intervention facility providing support to children, and their families, through guidance, counseling. and referral services.

The CPU facilitates children, victims 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.

Greater Protection

Since 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.

How to Find Help

Pakistan Child Helpline - dial 1121

Social Welfare Department website: www.sindh.gov.pk/dpt/swd

Sindh Child Protection Unit on Facebook

Sindh Province Child Protection Unit - address:

Child Welfare,
Child Protection Unit (CPU),
Social Welfare Department (SWD),
1/B, Block -19,
Sindhi Para,
Near Sindhi Hotel,
Shanti Nagar,
Gulshan-e-Iqbal,
Karachi,
Sindh,
Pakistan.


About the Author: Amir Murtaza is a senior researcher, analyst and writer on social development issues, especially pertaining to women, youth, and children. He is Executive Director of Social Research & Development Organization (SRCO) - a member of the Alliance for a Safe World.

Amir can be reached at