Citizens Against Child Sexual Abuse (CACSA) collected 40,000 signatures within a month in support of stiffer penalties against sexual predators in Malaysia.
CACSA spokesman Mimie Loke said they had also garnered support from MPs for the Child Sexual Crime Bill.
“We launched an online petition and also received physical signatures.
“We have also produced a booklet, Protect Your Child From Sexual Abuse: Let’s Talk, which is available for free at 7-Eleven outlets.
“Parents need to be vigilant as sexual abuse is more often than not committed by people known to the child,” she said at the launch of a public awareness campaign at Berjaya Times Square, Kuala Lumpur entitled, “Prevention is the answer: How to be your child’s defender”.
“I urge parents to talk to their children from a young age about inappropriate behaviour from adults,” said Loke, adding that laws need to address the sexual grooming of children on the Internet, especially through social messaging services.
CACSA is made up of various NGOs including Voice of Children and P.S. The Children and ngohub.asia.
ngohub.asia representative Syed Azmi Alhabshi said parents should be good at listening and observing so they would know the early signs of sexual abuse.
They should listen to their children’s stories, and look out for a possible hidden meaning behind them.
“They should give their children the opportunity and space to tell their stories, and be aware of any change in behaviour such as not wanting to go to school anymore.
“There is always a reason for a child’s actions, beyond that, parental supervision is important to prevent such incidents,” Syed Azmi said.
ASP Noraini Mohamad Noor from the Sexual Crimes Against Women and Children Division 11 said awareness and education goes hand in hand in combating child sex crimes.
“We have to be wary of who our children are talking to, especially with the popularity of social media.
“Now it is easy for a stranger to detect our children’s location and contact them by using social media tools like WeChat, Facebook and other social messaging apps.
“In 2016, more than 200 child sexual crimes cases were reported in Kuala Lumpur alone.
“Adults need to educate children to protect themselves from abuse by using easy-to-find items.
“Even a pen or pencil can be used by children to defend themselves,” she added.
For details go to www.facebook.com/cacsa.my/