Malaysia sees rise in sexual crimes involving children

A black and white photo of a person sitting down on the floor with his hands clasped in a praying position
More culprits are going online to groom and ask children for nude and pornographic photos and videos, said the Malaysia police. (PHOTO: Getty Images)

There has been an increase in sexual crimes involving children in Malaysia as culprits take to the Internet to hunt for victims, a senior police officer said.

"Online predators will establish a 'special relationship' and then ask for nude photos and videos of the victims, (and) these videos and photos will be spread when the victims no longer want to continue the relationship," said assistant commissioner (ACP) Siti Kamsiah Hassan of the Royal Malaysia Police (RMP).

"This crime of sharing, grooming, asking for nude and pornographic photos and videos is becoming a trend," ACP Siti Kamsiah of RMP's Sexual, Women and Child Investigation Division told Bernama in a report Tuesday (27 September).

ACP Siti Kamsiah pointed out that some 60 per cent of victims of sex crimes in Malaysia were children.

There were 4,274 victims of sex crimes including rape and molest in 2020, with 2,567 of them children, ACP Siti Kamsiah said. Last year, there were 4,031 victims of sexual crimes and 2,234 of them were children while for the first four months of this year, a total of 1,201 victims were recorded of whom 677 were children, she added.

"With children making up 60 per cent of the victims, it is something that should be taken seriously because there are various mental and psychological effects facing children who are victims of sexual crimes," ACP Siti Kamsiah said.

Parents have a role to play in teaching children about social etiquette and social boundaries, and "what can be shared, what cannot be shared, such as personal matters, the body", she added.

"Monitoring by parents is also important and the children themselves must have self-control to prevent them from becoming victims of crime."

There were 1,348 sexual crimes involving children from January to June this year, according to police statistics. These comprised rape (641 cases), gang rape (47), incest (127), unnatural sex (95) and molest (438).

Earlier this month, the Social Welfare Department revealed that there were 1,055 child abuse cases from January to June this year. Of these, 578 cases involved physical abuse, and the rest were 417 sexual abuse cases and 60 emotional abuse cases.

The victims in the abuse cases were girls in 706 cases, while 349 cases involved boys.

Last week, Malaysia was ranked 23rd out of 60 countries in the Out of The Shadows Index 2022, which benchmarks how 60 countries – home to about 85 per cent of the global population of children – are preventing and responding to child sexual exploitation and abuse.

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