‘Check registry before hiring babysitters’


PUTRAJAYA: Parents and those working in child care should make full use of the child sex offenders registry before hiring a babysitter, said Deputy Women, Family and Community Development Minister Hannah Yeoh.

Starting April 1, she said they could visit any state Welfare Department (JKM) office and check if a potential babysitter has prior child sexual offences.

“All they need to do is submit the IC number and JKM can inform them if the IC holder has a record under the Child Act or not,” she said, adding that the service is free of charge.

“If the person has no record, the result will appear instantaneously. If there is a record, JKM will verify with the courts if the conviction is being appealed.

“I am urging parents who want to hire babysitters or schools wanting to employ teachers to use this facility,” Yeoh told reporters after the launch of the child sex offenders registry search facility here.

The launch was officiated earlier by Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail, who is also the Women, Family and Community Development Minister.

Yeoh said the registry could also be checked at district-level JKM offices, but the results will not be instantaneous like at state offices.

“It will take about five days to check if

at district JKM offices.

“If you want instant results, you have to go to the state office,” said Yeoh, adding that the authority to provide such information is only given to state-level officers.

She added that only parents and those working with children can request to use the facility. They will have to fill up a form to explain their relationship with the person they are looking up.

“So, people cannot just simply abuse this database,” she said.

Yeoh, however, warned parents that even if a potential babysitter does not have a prior sexual offences record, caution must be exercised at all times.

She said based on records, most child sexual offenders are first-timers, and also known to the child.

“In 2017 for example, out of 314 cases of child sexual offences, 300 of them were commited by first-time offenders.

“So even if the individual does not have any record, he or she could still potentially commit the offence, as most such offenders are first-timers.

“Therefore, you must always be cautious who you employ to look after your children,” said Yeoh.

As of Feb 28, she said there were over 3,000 names on the child sex offenders registry.

Yeoh said the registry is the first phase into stopping sexual offences towards children.


   

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