‘Child sex­ual abuse cases must be han­dled with care’

The Star Malaysia - - Nation -

KUALA LUMPUR: There is still a cul­ture of per­mis­sive­ness on mat­ters per­tain­ing to child sex­ual abuse within fam­i­lies, Sus­pected Abuse and Ne­glect (Scan) team head Dr Zahi­lah Filzah Zulk­i­fli said.

“We tend to be­lieve that the abusers will change and their part­ners also feel they need to give them a chance to change, but peo­ple don’t change that eas­ily,” she said.

Dr Zahi­lah said while it was pos­si­ble for peo­ple to change, it has to be fa­cil­i­tated in a struc­tured man­ner with the help of ex­perts.

“There’s a huge process in re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion, it has to be done prop­erly. You can’t just la­bel some­one as be­ing re­ha­bil­i­tated and be done with it,” Dr Zahi­lah, a panel mem­ber at Mon­sters Against Us (MAU) Child Preda­tor Sym­po­sium, said yes­ter­day.

The sym­po­sium was or­gan­ised in col­lab­o­ra­tion with ALSA Malaysia and PS The Chil­dren by MAU, a youth move­ment aimed at tack­ling is­sues of child sex­ual abuse.

Mean­while, the lat­est U-Re­port Malaysia find­ings pre­sented at the sym­po­sium showed that 11% of Malaysians said they would not re­port an in­ci­dent of child abuse if they wit­nessed it while only 7% said they might.

U-Re­port is a mo­bile-based com­mu­ni­ca­tion plat­form that en­ables young peo­ple, called U-Re­porters, share their ideas and opin­ions on so­cial is­sues in their com­mu­nity, through polls and so­cial me­dia en­gage­ment.

Of­fi­cially launched by Unicef in 2012, it has over two mil­lion users in 22 coun­tries in four con­ti­nents.

Asked why they would not re­port the abuse, an anony­mous re­spon­dent said: “Be­cause I have no power or author­ity to stop it.”

An­other said that it might harm the child and the in­former.

“So I’ll let the au­thor­i­ties take the ac­tions needed.”

Also par­tic­i­pat­ing in the panel dis­cus­sion were R.AGE editor Ian Yee, whose Preda­tor In My Phone cam­paign in­spired the sym­po­sium, co-chair­per­son of the Bar Coun­cil Child Rights Com­mit­tee Ar­jeet Kaur, and Unicef’s Jun Faredda Jaabar.

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