‘Child sexual abuse cases must be handled with care’
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.