KUCHING: The Sarawak Women for Women Society (SWWS) calls for a serious review of standard operating procedures in police lockups following the recent alleged rape of a 16-year-old girl by a male detainee while being held at the Miri police station lockup.
SWWS said detained children should not only be separated from adults and placed in a safe facility but also be assigned to a policewoman, especially in the case of female minors.
"Police stations should be safe places but unfortunately not so in this case. It is appalling that a 16-year-old girl could be raped by a male detainee while being detained in a police station.
"Under the Child Act 2001, anybody below the age of 18 years old should be separated from adults while being detained in a police station," it said in a statement Friday (Jan 22).
On Jan 16, the girl lodged a police report claiming that she was raped by a fellow detainee in the lockup's toilet at about 4am on Jan 9 while she was being held overnight.
She had been arrested on Jan 8 for alleged involvement in illegal online gambling activities.
Sarawak police commissioner Comm Datuk Aidi Ismail said on Monday (Jan 18) that a police probe into the incident was expected to be completed this week.
He also said the investigation had found that the CCTV camera at the Miri police lockup did not have a recording function.
Referring to this, SWWS said police stations and personnel should be provided with better facilities, including functioning CCTV systems.
"The police should also be well-versed with the law, especially when it involves children.
"Further, SWWS notes that as Malaysia is a state party to the Convention on the Rights of the Child, the government should take the necessary action to ensure children's rights are upheld in all circumstances," it said.