#JUSTICEFORBELLA – child abuse

Share it!

A Down Syndrome Girl Special child named Bella was reported had been abused in a charity home operated by an NGO. She loves to hug those who take care of her, and she calls them “mother”.

There are provisions in the Child Act 2001 that provised the government to take action against parents or caretaker who neglect their children. According to Section 31(1)(a) Child Act 2001, any person who has in his or her care a child that is being neglected, abandoned, or exposed the child in a manner likely to cause him/her physical or emotional injury can be fined not exceeding RM20,000 or imprisonment for a term not exceeding ten years or both.

Child maltreatment is not a new occurrence. It occurs all across the world. Age is an important factor in determining whether a person is a child or not. It is important to determine whether a person is considered as a child. Specific provisions of law which provides for the protection of a child will be applicable. Therefore, the child will be safe from exploitation. Generally, Malaysia has three major statutes governing children and young persons, i.e., the Juvenile Court Act 1947, Child Protection Act and Women and Girls Protection Act 1973 which defines a child as all persons aged below 18 years. The definition is also in line with Article 1 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child 1991.

Child abuse is defined by the World Health Organization as any form of abuse, including physical, emotional, sexual, neglect, abuse, maltreatment, or exploitation, that may result in injury or damage to a child’s health, life, development, or dignity, and is perpetrated by those who have responsibility, trust, or authority over the child.

Child abuse can be divided into four kinds: emotional, physical, sexual and neglect. It usually consists of a pattern of behaviour which may include more than one kind of abuse.

When a parent or guardian mistreats a child, this is known as physical abuse. If an act or omission is done with the goal to harm the kid, it is considered “physical abuse.” Kicking, punching, shaking, strangling, beating till he passes out, and cracking bones are all types of physical abuse.

Sexual abuse is described as the involvement of children in sexual activities in which they do not fully comprehend what is being done or the consequences of giving consent, or the act is incompatible with the family’s role. The act of having intercourse with a kid, rape, incest, exposing genitals, sexual sadism, child prostitution, and child pornography were all examples of sexual abuse.

Neglect is defined as the inability to meet a child’s essential physical, emotional, and developmental needs in terms of health, education, emotional development, nutrition, shelter, and a safe living. Neglect happens when parents or caregivers fail to provide basic necessities such as food, clothes, shelter, medical care, education, nurturing, or love to their children.

As for Malaysia, several laws are providing the protection for the abused child.

A. The Child Act 2001

The Child Act 2001 has major changes in the law relating to the protection of the child in Malaysia. Children are recognised as a vital component of society in the Act’s preamble, and because they are not mature, they should be protected and given special care.

The Child Act provides provisions to protect abused children or children in need of care and protection as follows:

i) Restrictions on Media Reporting and Publications

To protect the child’s interests and welfare, any mass media report about a child for whom custody is obtained under Part V of the Kid Act must not disclose the child’s name, address, or educational institution, or include any information that could lead to the child’s identification.

ii) Taking a Child into Temporary Custody

It is the duty of a protector/police officer to take a child into temporary custody and put him or her in a safe house. Protector means the Director General, the Deputy Director General, Divisional Director of Social Welfare, Department of Social Welfare, the State Director of Social Welfare of each state, any social Welfare Officer appointed under the Child Act 2001. If the protector or police officer is satisfied on reasonable grounds that a child is in need of care and protection, they may take the child into temporary custody (section 18 of the Child Act 2001).

iii) Duty to Inform the Relevant Authority of Abuse

The duty to inform is imposed on the medical officer or medical practitioner who believes on reasonable grounds that a child he is examining, or treating is physically or emotionally injured as a result of being ill-treated, neglected, abandoned or exposed, or has been sexually abused (section 27(a) of the Child Act 2001). Failure to report is an offence and shall on conviction be liable for a fine not exceeding five thousand ringgit or imprisonment for a term not exceeding two years or both (sections 27(b) of the Child Act 2001).

Malaysia has a sufficient legislative, administrative, and policy framework in place to safeguard and meet the requirements of children, as well as to promote their physical, mental, intellectual, and emotional development. The Child Act of 2001, which is a comprehensive legislation for the protection, care, and rehabilitation of children, was enacted by the government as part of the legislative framework.

Malaysia has undertaken efforts in ensuring the rights of its children are protected. The Government of Malaysia recognises that a child is the key to the country’s survival, development and prosperity. The advancement and participation of the present generation will usher a future generation that is confident, responsible and caring. The Government acknowledges that by virtue of a child’s physical, mental and emotional immaturity, he or she is in need and entitled to special protection and assistance in all circumstances regardless of any distinction in race, colour, sex, language, religion, social origin as well as physical, mental or emotional disability.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *