A TOTAL of 128 cases of domestic violence, rape and child abuse were reported to the One-Stop Crisis Centre (OSCC) in Sibu in the first three-quarters of this year.
Domestic violence topped the list at 83 cases, followed by rape with 43 cases, said OSCC Assistant Secretary Eta Ting at the Centre’s Refresher Course in Sibu recently.
She said there was one case each of child abuse and sodomy.
Ting said of the cases reported to OSCC, Iban topped the list of victims involving 51 persons, followed by Chinese (46), Malay (10) cases and others (21).
Where the gender is concerned, women made up the majority at 115, while there were 13 male victims, with 22 others below 16 years old.
Thirty-three people attended the Refresher Course conducted by lawyer CM Sundram from Kuching.
Sundram was a former head of serious crimes with the state Criminal Investigation Department (CID) before he retired in 2003. During his 38 years with the police force, he was also a police prosecutor.
Most of the participants were attending the course for the first time.
They included doctors, hospital staff mostly from the Emergency and Traumatic Department (ETD), formerly Accident and Emergency Unit (A&E Unit), personnel from the Social Welfare Department, non-governmental organisation, a police officer and a media representative.
Sibu OSCC was launched 13 years ago by the late Chief Minister’s wife Datuk Amar Puan Sri Hajjah Laila Taib on Aug 23, 1997.
“Hopefully we will launch our website soon,” Eta said.
The purpose of the refresher course was to stress on inter-agency roles in OSCC to work together as a team to help one another for the benefit of all by being accountable and professional in serving.
It is also important that they be knowledgeable of their roles and the procedures involved to make Sibu a safe place to live in.
“Working as a team is very important to render the necessary assistance to help and to protect the victims of survivors of various crisis ‘under one roof’ instead of ‘many roofs’ that can discourage victims to even make any report at all, she stressed.
She added that OSCC is also all out to get all Malaysians to be responsible for their own actions so as to end violence at home, at work or in public places.
She called for more volunteers to come forward and offer their service as para-counsellors of Sibu OSCC to help change and touch the lives of both the victims and the perpetrators.
The objective of OSCC is to lessen the suffering of the victims concerned, said OSCC in a separate press statement released.
One of the chief exponents of OSCC is Datuk Dr Abu Hassan Asaari Abdullah of KL Hospital who, after realising the lack of coordination among the various agencies involved in the resolving of these cases, decided to approach the Health Ministry.
He managed to centralise the Emergency Room in general hospitals as the nerve centre for victims to congregate so that help will come not only sooner but also in a better coordinated manner.
By 2004, the Health Ministry has issued a directive that every government hospital in Malaysia should have a premise for the sole purpose of OSCC.
Thereafter, special rooms were constructed at ideal locations, close to the ETD, from where the agencies would be able to assist the survivors.
In Sarawak, the then State Health director Dr Yao Sik King informed the state OSCC meeting chaired by Datuk Lily Yong that the premise in Kuching, Sibu and Miri would be expanded accordingly and hospitals would continue to render assistance to make the programme a success.
On para-counsellors, they were trained to facilitate the success of the operation to render assistance to victims.
However, on many occasions, through sheer lack of good coordination from member agencies, the para-counsellors experienced difficulties.
Refresher courses, therefore, are very important because it affords an opportunity for members to get together to discuss about key matters pertinent to the running of the OSCC machinery.
“It is a forum where members would be given updates on the law and procedures affecting survivors as well as to enable them to improve their skills,” it stated.
Besides, it is also an opportunity to voice grievances which may be shared by other participating members or which can be resolved through the experience of others.