Almost all those who had sexually abused children knew their victims, a senior police officer said today.
DSP Tan Gee Soon, the head of the federal police’s Sexual Investigation Unit (D11), said statistics over the past 10 years have remained consistent and showed that 91 per cent of child sexual predators are not strangers.
“It is always said, beware of strangers. Actually all these predators are people surrounding them, like family and friends and all kinds of people that you know.
“Always when a child tells the father or mother that they have been sexually abused for a long time by certain people, our community is always in denial. ‘How can it be? He is a good teacher, a good ustaz, he is a good friend’,” she said at a seminar on prevention of sexual crimes.
According to data shown by Tan, those who sexually abuse children could include family friends, neighbours, teachers, police or military personnel, religious leaders and security guards.
Police statistics between 2013 and 2016 showed a high proportion of child sexual abuse cases under the categories of rape, outraging of modesty and sodomy that involved perpetrators known to the victims.
For cases of incest involving child victims, Tan showed statistics based on 10 years, highlighting that the percentage of cases involving biological fathers and stepfathers as perpetrators was similarly high at 23.9 per cent and 23 per cent respectively.
Tan’s data showed incest cases as also involving those such as uncles (18.7 per cent), brothers (12.5 per cent), cousins (7.2 per cent), brothers-in-law (5.3 per cent), stepbrothers (four per cent), grandfathers (1.6 per cent), and step-grandfathers (one per cent).
For child sexual abuse cases, the victims may delay reporting on the perpetrators for years due to various reasons such as a “deep sense of shame”, self-blaming and protecting those that they know.
“If in the family, they want to protect somebody, maybe if the father is the breadwinner, so they have to protect in order for the mother to not be sad and for the father is not imprisoned although he is the one who sexually abused them,” she said.
Besides delays in the lodging of reports by victims, other challenges faced during investigation of child sexual abuses included criminal proceedings that dragged on too long, with victims suppressing their painful memories or withdrawing their cases under pressure from their family, Tan said.
Some victims may be too young to provide answers in court, while there may be difficulties tracing witnesses or obtaining conclusive medical evidence, she said.
In statistics presented by Tan, the total number of child sexual abuse cases involving victims below the age of 18 for the first seven months this year is 1,413, while the total from 2013 until July 2016 is 10,575.
For the January to July 2016 period, 879 of the child sexual abuse cases involved rape, 117 involved incest, 361 and 56 was on outraging of modesty and sodomy respectively.
For the 2013 to July 2016 period, 6,200 of child sexual abuse cases were rape cases, while 834 incest cases, 2,893 and 648 cases involved outraging of modesty and sodomy respectively.
Tan was one of the four speakers at the third series of the Prevention of Sexual Crimes Seminar organised by the police together with the Malaysia Crime Prevention Foundation.
According to the police, over 500 attended the seminar today, including police officers, prison officers, teachers and non-governmental organisations that work with children.
Source : IDA LIM@The Malay Mail Online