One in 10 Malaysian children are sexually abused, usually by those they trust
Friday, 29 Nov 2019
One in 10 children in Malaysia – about 750,000 – are sexually abused, according to community studies.
In 95% of the cases, their sexual abusers are people known to them. Mostly, the abusers are their fathers or stepfathers.
“In Malaysia, the primary abuser is the father. The second primary abuser is the father and the third primary abuser is also the father, ” says Datuk Dr Amar Singh, a consultant pediatrician who has worked with sexually abused children for over three decades.
Citing three local community studies (Amar, 1996; Kamaruddin, 2000; and Choo, 2011) on the incidence of child sexual abuse in Malaysia, Dr Amar says that sexual abuse affects from 8% to 26% of children. The accepted average is 10%.
Police statistics on victims and the number of cases reported to the Welfare Department, however, are lower.
In 2017, out of the 1,582 rape cases reported to the police, almost 80% (1,257) involved victims (all women and girls) below the age of 18.
A total of 1,290 molest cases was recorded involving children under the age of 18, of which about 3% were boys.
A total of 269 incest cases were reported, of which 66% involved children under the age of 15.
Meanwhile, a booklet published by the Penang state government’s Women, Family Development Committee found that one in three girls and one in six boys experience sexual abuse before they reach the age of 18.
Globally, it is estimated that only about 10% of cases are reported.Child sexual abuse is a grossly under-reported crime; in fact, the most under-reported of crimes.
A child is sexually abused when he or she is forced or tricked into sexual acts.
Sexual abuse isn’t just using a body part or object to rape or penetrate a child but also includes touching any part of a child’s body inappropriately, whether they are clothed or not, making a child undress or touch someone else, lying on top of a child and rubbing against him or her, kissing or making a child perform oral sex or performing oral sex on a child.
Sexual abuse, says Dr Amar, is the most heinous of crimes – even more traumatic than rape.
“Mostly, children are sexually abused, some are raped. Sexual abuse is almost always by someone whom the child knows and trusts, and it is repetitive and can happen 100 or 500 or 1,000 times over months or years.
“Rape, though horrific too, often happens once and is perpetrated by a stranger.
“Sexual abuse is far worse because, often, it happens in the child’s own home by people they love and who say love them.
“I have worked with someone who was sexually abused for 15 years before she had the courage to run away, ” says Dr Amar.
MALAYSIA – What we know about the sexual exploitation of children in the country
To be able to stop the sexual exploitation of children, we need to know the scope and context of the issue. With information from the Out of the Shadows Index, developed by the Economist Intelligence Unit, and the ECPAT Country Overview Report on Malaysia, we have summarised the situation for Malaysian children.
Malaysia ranked 23 out of 60 countries scored by the Out of the Shadows Index on the country’s response to child sexual abuse and exploitation, with a score of 54.5.
Within the region of Southeast Asia, Malaysia was ranked ahead of Cambodia (53.7) and Indonesia (47.6) but behind the Philippines (56.7). Over the last several years, Malaysia has taken several practical steps to prevent and respond to child sexual exploitation, such as the adoption of the Sexual Offences against Children Act in 2017. Issues that hamper progress in reducing sexual exploitation of children include a dual legal system, which leads to gaps in legislation, and a lack of data and research.
The Out of the Shadows Index reports Malaysia as having a relatively stable and safe environment, with less than one per cent of Malaysian households living in extreme poverty, it scored 80/100 on the Out of the Shadows indicator for livelihoods.
A tradition of shame and silence around sex exacerbate children’s vulnerability to sexual exploitation.
Specific and contextual factors that exacerbate children’s vulnerability to sexual exploitation include social norms and values and a tradition of shame and silence around the topic of sex. This can inhibit quality and practical sexual education and allow sexual abuse to occur unreported. Malaysia’s geographical location, sharing borders with Thailand and its close proximity to Myanmar, plus its perception as a stable economy means that Malaysia has a high migratory influx from neighbouring countries including as a destination for trafficking.
SOCIAL NORMS AND ATTITUDES
Whilst positioning itself as a moderate Muslim nation, Malaysia continues to take some conservative approaches in the social, political and religious spheres that impact progress on preventing and responding to child sexual abuse and exploitation. For example, conservative pressure in Malaysia contributes to the continued practice of child marriage in the country. Some voices within Malaysia argue for its continuation, maintaining that protecting people’s right to marry children reduces casual sex, prevents sexual immorality and relieves families of financial burden. Furthermore, conservative social norms and values hamper quality sexual and reproductive health education and reinforce gender-based roots of sexual abuse and exploitation.
Conservative attitudes around social norms and values hamper sexual and reproductive health education and gender-based attitudes towards sexual abuse and exploitation.
Useful steps have been taken by the new government. For example, the new cabinet includes more women and minority representatives in key positions and human rights issues have gained prominent attention in the manifesto of the new Government. Moreover, in 2018, the Human Rights Commission of Malaysia issued a press release against the Government’s decision to introduce Standard Operating Procedures on the screening process of marriage as they felt this would only perpetuate and not eliminate the practice of child marriage.
THE WAY FORWARD
- Malaysia runs improved awareness training on sexual exploitation for and among children, in schools and in existing dedicated forums such as the Children’s Activity Centres and Kafe@TEENs
- Malaysia improves sexual and reproductive health education and gender-based attitudes towards sexual abuse and exploitation
LEGAL FRAMEWORK (68/100)
Malaysia has adequate laws against offences such as child rape, purchasing sexual services from children, procuring children for sexual activities, trafficking children and grooming children online. Malaysia has ratified all the major international conventions in the fight against sexual exploitation of children and is party to a number of international and regional frameworks. Malaysia has taken a progressive step in the protection of children from sexual exploitation by enacting the Sexual Offences against Children Act 2017. It encompasses online child sexual exploitation manifestations, namely conduct related to child sexual abuse/exploitation material and online grooming. However, limitations still exist in legislation, two of which are discussed below.
Malaysia received a score of 50/100 in the Out of the Shadows indicator for child marriage, this can be attributed to its standing as a controversial issue in the country. Legislation in Malaysia still allows for situations of exploitation to occur. A dual legal system allows Syariah law to govern some aspects of Malaysian life for the Muslim-majority population.
A dual legal system allows Syariah law to grant permission for children to marry.
For example, while the Law Reform (Marriage and Divorce) Act of 1976 stipulates that the legal age to marry is 18 years old, with an exception for girls between 16 and 18, under Islamic tradition, boys can marry at 18 and girls at 16 and a Syariah court can grant permission to marry below these ages.
THE WAY FORWARD
- Malaysia amends laws to mandate Internet service providers to block, delete and report offensive content involving child sexual abuse and exploitation
- Malaysia amends the Law Reform (Marriage and Divorce) Act and the Islamic Family Laws to set the minimum age of marriage at 18 years old for boys and girls with no exceptions
22 May 2019
29 April 2019
A man who faced 623 charges for sodomising and sexually abusing his 15-year-old daughter, was among 173 individuals sent to jail by the special court set up nearly two years ago to hear sexual crimes against children.
According to The Star, the figure represents a portion of 405 convictions handed down by the special court in Putrajaya and the second special court in Kuching.
The report quoted figures from the office of the Chief Registrar of the Federal Court Malaysia, which recorded a total of 841 cases registered at both courts in the same period of time.
“As of now, 641 cases have been disposed, leaving 200 cases remaining for hearing,” the office reportedly said on figures for up to February this year, from July 2017 when the first Special Criminal Court on Sexual Crimes Against Children began its operations.
Its second branch was set up in Kuching in April last year, with reported plans to have 12 branches of the special court for each state in the country.
“Currently, other remaining courts are still in the process of being set up,” the office of the Chief Registrar was quoted as saying.
It added that the special courts have a timeline of 12 months to dispose of cases to ensure that justice is meted out without unnecessary delay.
“The office of the Chief Registrar of Federal Court Malaysia also strives to provide a conducive and witness-friendly environment to the child victims and witnesses who have to attend court to testify.
“This will enable the child to be more comfortable coming to court to give statements without being intimidated by the court setting,” the office further said.
In the meantime, child sex crime cases in other states will continue to be registered at the Sessions Courts.
According to The Star, between July 2017 and February this year, a total of 2,466 cases of sexual crimes against children were registered nationwide, with 369 convictions.
2 August 2018
What kind of a society have we become when boys as young as 10 and 11 are held as suspects for the sexual abuse of a 9 year-old girl?
12 September 2017
2 boys, aged 10 and 11, held over sexual abuse of girl, 9
Mum stumbles on daughter lying semi-nude on mattress after playing with the two boys.
MIRI: Police detained two boys aged 10 and 11 this evening in connection with the sexual abuse of a nine-year-old girl in Limbang last night.
The suspects were picked up to facilitate investigations into the alleged offence at a fertiliser store in Kampung Palas.
Sarawak CID chief Dev Kumar MM Sree Shunmugam said the suspects were picked up following a report lodged at the Limbang police station by the victim’s 32-year-old mother.
22 June 2017
KUCHING: An estimated 80 per cent of rape victims in the country over the past two years are minors, according to statistics from the Royal Malaysia Police (PDRM).
The statistics showed that from the over 150 rapes cases recorded each year by police in 2015 and 2016, roughly 80 per cent involved underage victims.
Sarawak is not spared from the startling statistics, as about 80 per cent of the 68 rape cases reported to the police so far this year involved victims who are minors.
Realising this, four organisations, namely Digi Telecommunication Sdn Bhd, R.AGE, WOMEN:girls, and Unicef, and supported by the Federation of Reproductive Health Associations, Malaysia (FRHAM) as well as PDRM, jointly organised a programme called #SayaSayangSaya to raise awareness and spark conversation on the issue of online sexual grooming and Internet safety among the Malaysian public, especially schoolchildren and adolescents.
Digi CyberSAFE programme manager Philip Ling said #SayaSayangSaya is a platform for teenagers to gain awareness on cyber-grooming and on how to protect themselves from sexual predators.
“Our objective is to give information and to get their opinion on matters concerning health and proper sex education.”
“They need to learn how to protect themselves from predators and also what actions to take if they find themselves in that situation,” he said during a press conference yesterday after attending a forum with students from 38 schools in the city which participated in the #SayaSayangSaya programme.
A total of 144 secondary students took part in yesterday’s #SayaSayangSaya programme here, the fifth in a series of sessions held previously in Sabah, Terengganu and Pahang targeting 170 schools nationwide.
13 May 2017
Religious school teacher arrested for sexually molesting six boys since 2014
KUALA LUMPUR: Police have arrested a teacher of a religious primary school for having allegedly molested six male pupils since 2014.
The incident surrounding the male teacher, 29, based at the school in Bandar Baru Bangi, came into light when the parents of the six victims lodged police reports on Wednesday.
All the victims, who were between 11 and 12 at the time, had been ashamed to inform anyone and was afraid of the teacher.
Kajang district police chief Assistant Commissioner Othman Nanyan said police recorded statements from the six pupils.
28 April 2017
#ICYMI: Internet-related rapes involving minors rose 300pc in five years
KUALA LUMPUR, April 27 — Rape cases involving children and the use of the Internet increased fourfold between 2010 and 2015, a survey has revealed.
Statistics by the Sexual, Women and Child Investigations Unit from the police and Digi CyberSAFE also found that one in 10 children was asked to share intimate pictures or videos online.
“Based on our survey, about 80 per cent of our young respondents said they were okay with befriending strangers they met online,” CyberSAFE programme manager Philip Ling was quoted as saying in the New Straits Times.
“About 80 per cent of them were also not concerned about sharing their personal details publicly online,” he added.
The survey also revealed that almost 80 per cent of rape cases reported in the past two years involved online acquaintances.
– See more at: http://www.themalaymailonline.com/malaysia/article/internet-related-rapes-involving-minors-rose-300pc-in-five-years?utm_content=buffer8db90&utm_medium=social&utm_source=twitter.com&utm_campaign=buffer#sthash.4HyEnB8v.I0EbYU8o.dpuf
28 April 2017
Malacca Chief Minister Idris Haron reported that 24 child sexual crime cases had been referred to the Malacca Social Welfare Department for protection in the first quarter of this year.
That is shocking but it is even more shocking when you realise that it could be the tip of the iceberg of sexual crimes against children in Malacca.
Look at this tweet in November 2016:
http://www.nst.com.my/news/2016/11/188488/shocking-revelation-malacca-hospital-treats-3-children-sexual-abuse-every-week … It’s not a surprise now that my child sexual abuse/Watching Brief matter is from Malacca
Shocking revelation: Malacca Hospital treats 3 children for sexual abuse every week
MALACCA: A Malacca Hospital gynaecologist has dropped a bombshell by coming forward to reveal that at least three children are treated for sexual abuse at the facility every week.
Dr Maimunah Fadzil said the number usually rises during school holidays and festive periods, when children spend more time at home. In most cases, she said, children willingly fall into the trap.
Dr Mainumah added that some of the children have even become “addicted” to being sexually abused.
28 April 2017
24 sexual crime cases involving kids reported in Malacca
MALACCA: A total of 24 child sexual crime cases have been referred to the Malacca Social Welfare Department for protection in the first quarter of this year said Malacca Chief Minister Idris Haron.
He said 55 such cases were reported to the department last year and that the state government, via its relevant agencies, would ensure the safety of children in the state.
“Therefore, the safety of children does not depend on government agencies alone.
3 April 2017
Over 5,000 cases of child sexual abuse reported in the past 5 years
KUALA LUMPUR: A total of 5,052 cases of sexual abuse involving children were reported in the past five years.
Women, Family and Community Development Minister Datuk Seri Rohani Abdul Karim said around 70% to 80% of the offenders were those close to the victims, including their parents and guardians.
She said the government is looking seriously into the problem of child sexual abuse as it is closely related to pedophilia.
“Pedophilia is related to sexual abuse (on children). Statistics for the past five years has shown an increase of such cases, except in 2014 and 2015 which recorded a slight decrease.
“Although not all of the cases involve pedophiles, but sexual abuse cases shows that the threat of pedophilia needs to be given serious attention,” she told Dewan Rakyat during the question and answer session.
She was responding to a question posed by Datuk Noraini Ahmad (BN – Parit Sulong) who asked for the latest statistics on the number of children reported missing since 2016.
#PARLIAMENT Gov’t expands definition of sexual offences
PARLIAMENT | Putrajaya has sought amendments to the Penal Code to expand the definition of sexual offences, which was currently limited to penile penetration.
Under the proposed amendments to Section 377CA, the use of any other body parts by a perpetraitor of a sexual assault can now face prosecution.
“If there is a case for any offence involving sexual connection by object under Section 377CA, involving any part of the body, such as finger and tongue, prosecution can be instituted under the same section of Penal Code,” read the explanatory notes for the bill.
Putrajaya contends that the amendments was in line with a Court of Appeal ruling (Shafiee Awang vs PP) where it was decided that the “finger” was included in the definition of “object” under Section 377CA.
“The proposed amendment is done for the purpose of clarification,” read the explanatory notes.
The bill to amendment Section 377CA of the Penal Code was tabled today by de facto Law Minister Azalina Othman Said.
In 2015, there was public outcry over the acquital of “finger rapist” Bunya Jalong, who was accused of impregnating a 15-year-old girl.
Penile penetration could not be established, although the accused admitted to penetrating the girl with his finger.
14 Nov 2016
Paedophiles targeting Malaysia due to weak laws http://www.nst.com.my/news/2016/11/188502/paedophiles-targeting-malaysia-due-weak-laws …
@PDRMsia @KDNPUTRAJAYA @hjhrohanikarim
Charges were filed in 2,189 cases, resulting in just 140 convictions. The data doesn’t show how many people were involved, or what happened in the cases where there were no convictions after charges were filed.
No details were disclosed in the cases where there were convictions.Read More : http://www.nst.com.my/news/2016/11/188502/paedophiles-targeting-malaysia-due-weak-laws
Shocking revelation: Malacca Hospital treats 3 children for sexual abuse every week http://www.nst.com.my/news/2016/11/188488/shocking-revelation-malacca-hospital-treats-3-children-sexual-abuse-every-week …
Dr Maimunah Fadzil said the number usually rises during school holidays and festive periods, when children spend more time at home.
In most cases, she said, children willingly fall into the trap. Dr Mainumah added that some of the children have even become “addicted” to being sexually abused.
She attributed the shockingly high statistic to lack of close parental supervision, as well as an alarming trend in children taking part in immoral activities performed by the adults around them.
3 June 2016
Is Malaysia a haven for paedophiles?
Unfortunately the vigor in combating terrorism is not seen in nipping sexual crimes against children
The English dailies this morning featured reports on Richard Huckle – the 30-year-old British paedophile who is facing 91 child molestation charges in the British courts.
Of this number, 71 involved Malaysian children. Of the 71 Malaysians, 23 victims alone are from Kuala Lumpur.
His victims were aged between six months and 12 years, and the offences were committed between 2006 and 2014.
British daily The Telegraph reported that Huckle, a permanent resident in Malaysia since 2011, could not be arrested then as the National Crime Agency (NCA) was powerless to act outside the United Kingdom.
He was only arrested in 2014 when he returned to Britain for Christmas and over 20,000 images of him abusing children as young as six months were found on his laptop, camera and phone.
Huckle also kept a ledger of his attacks and wrote a manual called “Paedophiles And Poverty: Child Lover Guide” with graphic details of the sexual offences.
Social activist Syed Azmi Alhabshi claimed the existence of a local paedophile group using the Telegram messaging application with 751 participants but PDRM’s Sexual Women and Child Investigation (D11) principal assistant director told New Straits Times that its Children’s Cyber Sexual Investigation Team are monitoring the group.
Seriously, are the police waiting to catch the paedophiles from the group redhanded that they continue to simply monitor?
Women Family and Community Development Minister Rohani Abdul Karim confirmed that a child sex offenders registry online would be established with the implementation of the Child Act (Amendment 2015).
The amendment was done in 2015. We are already in the first week of June 2016. Nothing has been forthcoming yet.
Also, the registry would only enlist convicted sex offenders. What about paedophiles who are not in the system? What about those being monitored by the authorities?
As news of Richard Huckle shocked Malaysians today, admitting to raping, sexually assaulting, and performing sexual activities on children between six months and 12 years in a poor Christian community in Kuala Lumpur, social activist Syed Azmi Alhabshi has shed light on another horrifying discovery of a local paedophile chat group on Telegram messenger.
Syed, who has over 80,000 followers on Facebook posted a screenshot of the chat group that one of his friends was wrongly invited to, a paedophile group formed earlier this January, which has 751 members, and with messages that were utterly disturbing to read.
Among the messages shared showed a picture of a little girl wearing her swimmers, followed by crude comments that came afterwards about her privates. Although, the picture was blurred out to respect the subject and leave investigations to the police, some of the horrific reactions to her picture was shown.
Syed relayed he had all the names and numbers of members in the group, and what was more surprising was that based on their birth year in their messenger names, he suspected some of them were still young.
“One of them have a year tagged on his name like xxxx86, let’s assume its age? They are still young.
NST_Online: MCMC special committee to probe local paedophile chat group SKMM_MCMC http://www.nst.com.my/news/2016/06/149486/mcmc-special-committee-probe-local-paedophile-chat-group …
Special panel probing Telegram messaging by local paedophiles
The Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) has set up a special committee to investigate claims on the social media about the presence of a local paedophile group on the Telegram messaging application.
MCMC Enforcement and Investigations Department head Mai Zairani Zainal Abidin said the Special Committee on Eradicating Social Media Abuse, comprising the commission, the Attorney-General’s Chambers and the police, was investigating the matter.
“Although no official report has been lodged, the special committee has started its investigation on the matter,” she told a media conference in Cyberjaya today.
The presence of the group was revealed by human rights activist Syed Azmi Alhabshi on his Facebook.
Mai Zairani said cases involving paedophiles were normally investigated by the police, while MCMC would conduct forensic investigation on the platform used by them to communicate.
She said the commission received 62 complaints on abuse of the social media between January and May this year, an increase of 63 percent from the corresponding period last year.
“For the first five months of this year, four cases have been charged in court under Section 233 of the MCMC Act, while hearings of four other cases are ongoing,” she added.