STATISTICS in 2018 showed 1,133 children below 18 were reported to be victims of abuse and placed under the protection of the Kuala Lumpur Social Welfare Department.
Its director, Fatimah Zuraidah, Salleh said most abuse cases were perpetrated by family members.
“The physical, sexual and emotional abuse mostly involved parents and guardians,” she said.
In view of the alarming number of cases, the Social Welfare Deparment (JKM), together with other agencies, recently organised a children’s safety programme called “Sahabat BIJAK: Safe and Protect” at SK Bandar Baru Sentul, Kuala Lumpur.
Sahabat BIJAK, which stands for “Banteras Indeks Jenayah Kanak-Kanak”, is a JKM initiative to expose children to various aspects of abuse.
The programme was established in 2014 with the aim to raise awareness among primary schoolchildren about abuse and harassment as well as how they can seek help.
A total of 200 Standard Two pupils were involved in various activities and informational talks during the programme, which also saw the participation of the Sentul district police headquarters, Sentul fire and rescue station, Kepong district health office and Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC).
“Some of the children live with their families but not with the ones who were abusing them, while some of them live in JKM institutions,” Zuraidah said after the closing ceremony of the programme.
“The number of cases are high and it’s a challenge to reduce them.
“On the positive side, community awareness is increasing with more cases being reported to JKM,” she added.
Batu MP P. Prabakaran’s representative, Lestari Yahya, said the programme was important in educating parents, guardians and teachers about children’s safety.
“It also teaches pupils about the actions that should be taken when they are abused.
“Parents or guardians are prohibited to take advantage of children and treat them badly even when those children are their own,” Lestari said, adding that each and every child has a right to grow up healthy and safe with the protection and love of a family.
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