Children must be empowered to voice out sex crimes, says Rosmah

BALQIS LIM

KUALA LUMPUR: Parents need to change their outlook on sex crimes which is considered a taboo here in the country, said Prime Minister’s wife Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor.

Rosmah, who is also Permata programme patron, said children need to be empowered so that they are responsible for themselves and are able to protect their peers.

“I hope that after this seminar, sexual crimes are no longer considered a taboo and the parents are not shy or embarrassed to report it.

“Children will also not be afraid to let the parents know if they have been harassed,” she said at the closing ceremony of Jenayah Seksual Kanak-Kanak: Hentikan!! (Child Sexual Crimes: Stop It!!) Seminar at the Putra World Trade Centre here today.

Rosmah said findings from the panel’s discussion revealed that from 2014 to 2016, most cases reported involved children under 18 years old.

“Most cases occur in the rural areas and surprisingly, in 89 per cent of the cases reported, the perpetrator is known and trusted by the victim, such as family members and acquaintances, friends, neighbours, adults in schools and dormitories,” she added.

At the same time, Rosmah urged for the same seminar to be extended to the grassroots level in all the states with the involvement of the wives of ministers and member of parliaments.

“I hope seminars such as these not only benefit the people at the federal level but also at the state level, especially in rural areas,” she said.

Rosmah added that the seminar’s findings also recommended for a helpline to be established to help children who are victims, parents and guardians, and the general public who are concerned about the sexual behaviour of their children.

The two-day seminar which began Monday was officiated by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak.

Najib had said a new bill aimed at tackling sex crimes against children will be tabled in the Parliament soon.

During his address at the launch of the seminar, Najib said papers on the bill would be presented to the Cabinet before a tabling at the Dewan Rakyat.

He said the Child Sexual Offences Bill 2017 was mooted after an extensive study by a special government task force last August, headed by Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Azalina Othman Said.