Violence against children -- especially rape, sexual harassment, kidnap, early marriage and murder -- is on the rise in the country, says a report prepared by Manusher Jonno Foundation (MJF).
Besides, the number of children committing suicide, getting killed in accidents and being victims of political violence also rose last year.
The findings of MJF were disclosed in a report titled “Bangladesh Shishu Poristhiti 2017” at the capital's Jatiya Press Club yesterday.
MJF prepared the report from compilation of news reports published in six national dailies.
The number of “positive” and “negative” reports on children, published in the dailies, was higher last year than that in 2016, the report also says.
In comparison with 2016, child rapes last year rose by 36 percent.
As many as 472 children were raped in 2017, while the figure was 304 in 2016. Among the rape victims, 18 were killed in 2017 while 22 killed the previous year. Moreover, rape attempts were made on 45 children over the last two years, says the report.
The number of children who faced sexual harassment last year totalled to 101 -- four times higher than that in 2016.
Last year, with 72 children kidnapped and 10 of them later found dead, kidnap incidents saw a 26 percent rise over the previous year's incidents.
According to the report, in 2017, a total of 524 children were victims of child marriage. The figure was 83 in 2016.
In 2017, as many as 196 children were murdered with 28 others subjected to attempted murder. The child murder and attempted murder figures in the previous year were 191 and 14 respectively.
Moreover, 259 children were victims of torture last year. The number of tortured children in 2016 was 408.
The total number of children committing suicide last year was 203 -- a figure that is two and a half times higher than the previous year's figure.
The total number of child death last year was 1,595, with 679 of them killed in accidents. The child death figure in 2016 was 1,128 while accidental death was 441, the report says.
The number of children injured in 2017 was 3,364, as opposed to 2,030 the previous year.
Child casualty in road accidents witnessed a 53-percent rise last year with 375 deaths. The figure was 173 in 2016.
The report also found a rising trend in making children victims of political violence last year as the number of child victims rose to 54 from 17 the previous year.
MJF in its report urged the government to create a separate department to handle children's issues under the women and children affairs ministry.
With a view to ensuring due protection of children, MJF also stressed the need for a national framework comprising development and non-government organisations.
MJF Executive Director Shaheen Anam said parents and guardians should practise caution in order to safeguard their children.
Community-based shelter homes could ensure safety of children of working parents, she observed.