Reporting system must rope in agencies, says activist

PETALING JAYA: A few factors must be taken into account before implementing an online reporting system, which would allow children to report crimes inflicted against them, says a prominent activist.

Dr James Nayagam said the system must have a legal bite and involve law and order agencies which can act on the complaints.

“There is no proven track record of any effective reporting system so far,” said the chairman of the Suriana Welfare Society.

He added that the current helpline has not been effective and has certain loopholes, including ensuring the confidentiality of the complainant.

Raising several questions, he asked if the system would guarantee confidentiality and protection for both the victim and complainant.

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He also asked whether the officials attending to the complaint have the expertise to deal with the case and can offer the necessary assistance to the victim via an online platform.

James added that the government must outline the mechanisms for how the system will work and how they will handle the case, as certain procedures have to be followed to validate the claims.

“I would like to know how they will handle a case when the child reports the matter. Will it be the Welfare Department, the police, or who (whichever authority will be handling the case)?

“With all these questions, I believe there should be a trial run. They have not identified who exactly owns it (the system),” he added.

James said that the trial run will allow stakeholders to identify the loopholes in the system and improve it.

He said without these matters being addressed, the system may not serve its purpose.

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Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department (Law and Institutional Reforms), Datuk Seri Azalina Othman Said said yesterday that an online system for children to report crimes against them is in the pipeline for next year.She said this was to ensure children had access to a system that did not discriminate.

“Right now, the definition of reporting always refers to police reports. That can be tricky when the perpetrator is outside certain jurisdictions,” she said.

Lawyer Tiew Way Keng proposed that authorities should promptly verify and act on the matter upon receiving the complaint as delays in addressing complaints may deeply affect the victims.

She also said the platform must empower victims or witnesses to file reports, including on bullying.

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