KUALA LUMPUR: Sexual abuse cases involving children in the country have risen steadily over the past five years, the Dewan Rakyat was told today.
Women, Family and Community Development Minister Datuk Seri Rohani Abdul Karim said according to police statistics, 5,052 such cases were reported since 2012.
"There has been an increase in the past five years, except in 2014 and 2015, when there was a slight decrease.
"In most cases, the offenders were parents, guardians, or those close to the children, including paedophiles," she said.
Rohani added that the rising trend proves that the threat of paedophilia needs to be given serious attention.
"This is why Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak has called for a task force to be formed to tackle crimes against children. As a result, the Sexual Offences Against Children Bill 2017 will be tabled for a second reading today," she added.
The bill was tabled for a first reading on March 28 by Minister in the Prime Minister's Department, Datuk Seri Azalina Othman Said.
The bill will see individuals charged with being accessories to sexual crimes against children prosecuted and fined a maximum RM5,000.
Other elements in the bill include prosecution for child pornography possession, sexual grooming and physical and non-physical sexual assault; and giving weight to the credibility of and evidence provided by alleged child victims.