Unicef Malaysia: Gang-rape case, rising child abuse highlight need for increased prevention efforts


PETALING JAYA: The United Nations Children’s Fund (Unicef) has called on the government to adopt prevention and intervention approaches to ensure children are protected from sexual abuse, which it claims has been on the rise over the past few years.

Speaking in the aftermath of a gang rape of a 15-year old by over 30 individuals in Ketereh on May 20, Unicef said the case highlights a collective need to identify and address the underlying causes of violence against girls,including addressing attitudes and beliefs that condone violence and perpetuate harmful constructions of masculinity.

“The adoption of prevention and intervention approaches that engage with all segments of society, including men and boys, is critical to the protection of all children, and in particular to girls who are disproportionately affected by sexual violence,” said Unicef Malaysia in a statement issued on Monday.

Unicef Malaysia called on the authorities to step up efforts to protect violence against children, especially girls.

“Other measures should include the provision of life skills and reproductive health education for adolescents in schools, as well as more robust implementation of policies and legal frameworks, along with increased access to justice,” said Unicef.

Unicef pointed out that Department of Social Welfare statistics showed that cases of child abuse, especially sexual abuse and neglect, have increased from 2,789 in 2009 to 3,428 in 2011.

“It is all the more worrying given that the social stigma attached to being a rape survivor means that many such cases remain unreported,” added Unicef

The United Nations body called on the authorities to bring all perpetrators to justice in accordance with the law, adding that with child offenders, all efforts should be made to ensure that they are treated in a manner that complies with the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) and other international standards overseeing juvenile justice.

“As we commemorate 25 years of the landmark international treaty known as the Convention on the Rights of the Child, and as Malaysia prepares to mark 20 years of its commitment to the CRC next year, we reiterate our conviction that no child in Malaysia should be subjected to the devastating physical and emotional scourge that abuse inflicts,” said Unicef.

Source: The Star Online