Sexual abuse: Parents must get kids to speak up, says NGO

sexual-abuse-talkPETALING JAYA: Malaysia should create a safe environment where children can inform adults if they are being sexually abused, says an NGO.

Shelter Home for Children chairman Vincent Pee said there should be an environment where children feel at ease to tell their parents if they are abused sexually without having to fear being judged or condemned.

“Children should be able to talk to their parents when something happens to them, especially if it is something as serious as sexual abuse,” Pee told FMT.

Responding to the issue of child sexual abuse, Pee said if sexually abused children are left unattended, they will be more confused later when they grown up.

“When the children don’t have the right channels to seek help and tell any responsible adults that they are being abused, they will be left confused and it will cause more damage down the road.”

He also said no proper environment was created by the public in Malaysia as many parents still consider sex education as taboo.

“Parents should expose their children to sex education so that the kids will learn what is right or wrong, and what is permissible to do.”

Pee suggested that parents teach their children about “safe touch”. This involves teaching children what parts of the body can be touched by others.

He said there is a lack of public awareness in terms of protecting children against predators.

“The public tends to dismiss such issues because they think it will never happen to their children or family members.”

He also opined that child predators know how to select their victims and tend to go for children who are timid or are loners.

Speaking about child sexual abuse in shelter homes, Pee said most established or regulated homes had a child protection policy (CPP). Such places won’t have child sexual abuse cases happening there, he asserted.

“Such homes will also have proper screening of volunteers.”

Pee said these volunteers should not be allowed to be left alone with a child and all activities in the shelters must be monitored via closed-circuit television (CCTV) cameras.

Recently, an NGO head, Muhammad Khairul, openly stated that he was sodomised by officials when he was a resident at a home for boys in Malacca.

His traumatic experience when young led Khairul to seek justice for himself and other boys who were allegedly sodomised by staff members at the government-run home.