Kit to keep children safe

THE paedophilic shopkeeper likes to caress Justin’s back and tickle his ears at the sundry shop when the boy buys groceries for his mother (pic). He often gives Justin chocolates and crackers too.

One day, the shopkeeper says Justin’s money is not enough to pay for his purchases, so to make up for the difference, he takes Justin to his storeroom where he sexually abuses him.

In another case, Kohila’s neighbour, Uncle Jack buys her a handphone for her birthday and fetches her back from school every day.

After a few weeks of building her trust, Uncle Jack drives Kohila to a quiet hill where he teaches her something that ‘special friends’ do to each other.

The focus then switched to Maimunah whose older brother-in-law frequently offers to help her with her Math, stroking her hair and shoulders when he does. She finds the courage to tell her older sister, but she does not believe her.

These are the heart-wrenching scenes of the latest video in the education package Be Smart, Be Safe or Bijak Itu Selamat (BIS).

It is a child sex abuse prevention programme developed by Women’s Centre for Change (WCC).

“The scenes are based on true stories of children who were victims of sex abuse,” said WCC programme consultant Prema Devaraj.

The 30-min video also has commentary, cartoons and songs to show children the difference between good and bad touches.

The rest of the package, available for RM30, contains other interactive teaching materials and a manual for teachers and parents to identify and deal with child sex abuse cases.

It was launched on Wednesday before an audience of 300 full-time school counsellors in Penang including deputy state education director Dr Sharifah Bee Aboo Bakar.

“Police statistics show that 75% of all reported rape cases in 2013 involved victims under the age of 18, the majority of that being between 13 and 15,” said Dr Sharifah.

She added that 30% of molest victims between 2007 and 2010 were under the age of 10.

“Today’s children face real risks of being sexually abused and exploited by irresponsible people who prey on the weak and innocent.”

School teachers, Dr Sharifah said, were vital links in national efforts to arrest child sex abuse.

“There are times when children cannot seek help from home. Teachers then become the only trustworthy adults they can turn to,” she said in her speech.

Dr Sharifah encouraged the counsellors to obtain the child sex abuse education package, adding that the cost could be claimed via funds for reproductive health education materials.

All schools in the country, she said, had a full-time counsellor for every 500 students and counsellors were best suited to help children learn what to do when faced with sex abuse problems.

WCC president Lalitha Menon said BIS had been used since 2001 to educate over 15,000 students in Years Five and Six throughout Penang, Kedah, Perak and Kelantan.

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Courts & Crime , Northern Region , child , sex , abuse


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