Aftermath of sexual abuse

Proactive steps: ACP Siti Kamsiah says they look at how to provide jobs for the mother and find sponsors for the victims. — SHAARI CHEMAT/The Star

KUALA LUMPUR: When a sexual abuser in the family is finally arrested, the story is far from over for the victims, whether they are the abuser’s spouse or children. They have to deal with the fallout.

This is why the police hope to kick off a pilot project with a non-governmental organisation (NGO) to establish a comprehensive system to help improve the lives of sexual abuse victims and their families, says Asst Comm Siti Kamsiah Hassan.

The Bukit Aman Sexual, Women and Child Investigations Division (D11) assistant director said the proposal has been made but they are still at the discussion stage with an NGO.

“As a police officer, we help send the culprits to jail, but as a mother and member of society, I can see the gaps. Imagine cases where the victims get pregnant – there will be another mouth to feed while the mother faces societal pressure and blame.

“After the main breadwinner is no longer in the picture (in cases of incest involving fathers), the family’s economic survival (is also threatened).

“So we start by looking at how we can provide jobs for the mother and find sponsors for the victims placed in temporary shelters until they can get back on their feet,” she told The Star.

Help for such victims cannot lie solely on the shoulders of the police, said ACP Siti Kamsiah – other agencies, ministries and local representatives have to come forward as well.

She added that the support system for victims should also not just stop at motivation and counselling, but must also address the lack of economic support.

Among her suggestions are establishing shelters, teaching new skills to generate income, and continuation of education for victims as well as providing jobs for the mothers.

She also said companies can offer jobs to such mothers, developers can help set up small shelters for affected families in a township, or sponsor the children to help them finish their studies.

“This is my own proposal and I am keen to start a pilot project next year. If there are others who are interested to join, I welcome them to do so that we can set up this pilot project.

“Although the project may take a decade to see fruition, it is important to start now,” she said.

She added that the police do their best by ensuring culprits face the music, and had even established a unit to identify potential sexual offenders.

This is part of the police’s proactive measures in stamping out the menace, which also includes working with overseas agencies to do early tracing of sex offenders in Malaysia who create, collect or support child pornography.

“Through this new unit, we identify the IP (Internet Protocol) addresses of potential sexual offenders searching for child sexual exploitation material.

“We identify the subscribers of such material and arrest them so that they don’t become sexual offenders.

“In such cases, it usually starts off with them looking for such material – there may not be physical contact, but it is still an offence. It can also be that they already have victims or have yet to find victims.

“The police usually collaborate with various stakeholders – some are reactive, like reported cases, and there are also awareness programmes carried out in schools and local communities,” she said.

ACP Siti Kamsiah added that the police work with agencies to exchange information about sexual abuse crimes, modus operandi and the latest related trends.

It was reported from January to August, 959 cases under the Sexual Offences Against Children Act 2017 were investigated.

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