PETALING JAYA: An adult inappropriately messaging or calling a child constitutes child grooming, say psychiatrists.
Psychiatrist and former Malaysian Psychiatric Association president Dr Abdul Kadir Abu Bakar said the perpetrator usually starts “hunting” for a victim by playing the role of an “elder brother”.
He said a child who is unattended or alone becomes an easy target for these sort of predators.
When asked how the actions of such perpetrators often go undetected for so long, he said it was usually because they claim that they are just “saying harmless things”.
“NGOs have a syndrome of denial or a ‘not in my backyard’ attitude,” Dr Abdul Kadir said.
Malaysian Mental Health Association president Datuk Dr Andrew Mohanraj said the man who texted the girl likely did it with the intention of “establishing an unusual relationship against acceptable norms of society, be it sexual in nature or otherwise”.
“The paedophile never gives up and often moves from one victim to another, even if he is close to being caught.
“It becomes an obsession,” said Dr Mohanraj, who is also a consultant psychiatrist.
He said the long-term psycho-logical impact on victims has been well documented, where young adults may have “altered perspectives of normal relationships and sexual encounters”.
International Islamic University Malaysia consultant psychiatrist Prof Dr Ramli Musa reminded the public that child grooming was now under the Sexual Offences Against Children Act 2017.
He said parents can take preventive measures such as early sex education, being friends with their children on social media and not posting pictures or personal data of their children unnecessarily online.