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Reluctance to report among biggest challenges against combatting sexual exploitation of kids, says law minister

Malay Mail
Malay Mail

SHAH ALAM, 16 March — Law minister Datuk Seri Azalina Othman Said has conceded that reluctance to lodge a report against sexual exploitation of children remains one of the biggest challenges for policymakers.

The minister in the Prime Minister's Department said today that survivors and others in the public are still worried that filing a report may instead backfire on them.

“The main challenge for us the policymakers together with the education minister and the teachers here today is Section 19 of the Sexual Offences Against Children Act 1997, when the people were scared to make a report,” she said while launching the Convention to Protect Students from Sexual Exploitation here.

Section 19 of the Act states that it is an offence for someone to not inform the officer in charge of the nearest police station of a sexual offence against a child. Those found guilty can be fined not more than RM5,000.

Speaking further in a press conference, Azalina, who is also the Pengerang MP, said that the culture of not believing in a child victim must change.

She said it was not good for the children if they were not trusted when they were already suffering from being a victim in a sexual abuse case.

“The culture must change. So, that’s what we tried to explain. Now it’s time for us to go to the neighbourhood just to get the community to assist the children and this can help from allowing more cases to happen," she said.

Azalina spoke today after launching the Convention to Protect Students from Sexual Exploitation here.

Among others who attended the event were Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail, Education Minister Fadhlina Sidek and Selangor Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Amirudin Shari.