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Cooperation Needed To Prevent Sexual Offences Against Children — Wong You Fong

Only via the joint efforts of the government and society as a whole may we hope to create a safe environment for the next generation.

Wanita MCA is deeply perturbed over the sexual offences committed against children, which shows a growing trend annually.

Even worse is the fact that 80 per cent of the cases were committed by perpetrators known to victims.

Wanita MCA calls upon everyone throughout Malaysia to assert every effort to end this heinous crime and help each other to create a safe environment for our children.

According to a joint statement issued by Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department (Law and Institutional Reform) Azalina Othman and Education Minister Fadhlina Sidek, there were 1,570 cases of child sexual abuse reported last year, 110 of whom involved children under the age of 6.

From 2017 to last year, there were 6,990 child sexual abuse victims reported in Malaysia, most of whom were between the ages of 13 and 15 years.

This data may only be the tip of the iceberg, as many cases go unreported. As police reports have revealed that 80 per cent of these cases were committed by persons known to the victim, this situation becomes more complex during investigations.

Wanita MCA therefore urges the public to be more vigilant to thwart similar incidents. Through the common strength of the community, helping each other and safeguarding minors together, may such abominable incidents be reduced.

The women’s wing of MCA also implores parents to pay more attention to the people around their children, besides teaching their offsprings about basic precautions as early as possible, such as unacceptable body touches.

Parents also need to have an open, two-way communication with their children so that the latter feel safe to freely confide in them, without getting into any trouble regarding any uncomfortable experiences or touches by others.

We applaud the government’s proactive measures, including the Education Ministry’s release of guidelines on reporting sexual misconducts, as well as raising legal awareness among students and educators.

We urge the government to build on these steps with even more impactful initiatives, such as forming dedicated child sexual abuse response teams, composed of specialised police officers and social workers, who can visit schools to educate students and staff on prevention, reporting procedures, and available support resources.

Youngsters are also urged to learn about self-protection and not to blindly submit to another individual hovering over them with power.

If any adults among family members or friends or even teachers ask youngsters questions or give instructions with sexual connotations or behave in a manner that makes the minor uncomfortable, the child needs to leave the scene at once and report the episode to their parents or guardians.

Only via the joint efforts of the government and society as a whole may we hope to create a safe environment for the next generation.

So long as society becomes more vigilant over such cases, trusts whatever the child is confiding, ask valid and related questions, takes the necessary action of lodging a police report while not descending to vigilantism, do we stand a chance of keeping our children safe.

Wong You Fong is Wanita MCA national chairperson.

  • This is the personal opinion of the writer or publication and does not necessarily represent the views of Ova.

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