Child abuse in Iran increased 12.5 percent in 2019, according to Abbas Masjedi Arani, head of the National Coroner’s Office, while Reza Jafari, head of the Social Emergency Department of the Welfare Organization, said that child abuse was the most common form of domestic violence in the country, citing 16,000 cases in six months in 2017.
As bad as this is, it may well be a vast underestimate because Mehrdad Motallebi, the social affairs deputy for the Welfare Organization in West Azerbaijan Province, said that 13,000 cases were registered in that province between March 2017 and March 2018.
Psychologist Hashem Varzi said that the type of child abuse is changing and that phenomena like “child laborers, addicted children, [and] child brides are not even included in the statistics.
“Neglecting the basic needs and rights of a child such as nutrition, health, shelter, adequate clothing, security, love, and education are also obvious examples of child abuse,” he said.
The main reason for the incredible levels of child abuse is that the laws fail to punish it effectively and, therefore, fail to prevent it. Domestic violence is not a separate crime in Iran, the bills that are supposed to protect women and children are constantly held up in the Parliament (Majlis) or judiciary, and many laws exist that violate children’s rights, including honor killings and child marriage.
Iran’s Guardian Council even objected to parents/legal guardians/others responsible for the care of children being fined or imprisoned is a child in their care died, lost one of the senses, lost a body part, or was injured on any part of their body, including the head, face or neck, as a result of “negligence, carelessness, lack of skill, or failure to observe”.
Meanwhile, the government amputates hands for petty theft.
Worse still, child abuse in Iran has risen during the coronavirus pandemic due to rising social ills like poverty and mental health problems.
“Violence against children has increased fivefold. Before the Coronavirus crisis, the cases involved physical violence against children and even rape. The difference today is that the beating of children by their parents is constantly being repeated,” said social harms researcher Mohammad Reza Mahboubfar.
And, of course, girls are more likely to be victims than boys because of the regime’s ingrained misogyny.
Salamatnews.ir wrote back in 2018 that 52 percent of abused children are girls and 57 percent of abusers are fathers. This was backed up as recently as November by the Welfare Organization in Chaharmahal & Bakhtiari Province.