Come forward, child sexual abuse victims urged

KUCHING: Welfare, Community Wellbeing, Women, Family and Childhood Development Ministry has appealed to victims of child sexual abuse to come forward and share their stories.

Its minister Datuk Seri Fatimah Abdullah said this was important to ensure more perpetrators could be prosecuted.

“Tragically, this crime is more common than the public realise and we need more awareness and to listen to the children more so because the perpetrators are taking terrible advantage of their power over their victims,” she said on Wednesday.

Fatimah added that since the prevalence was much higher than the number reported, continuous and regular awareness campaigns on child abuse would pave the way for more prosecutions.

She said 38.9 percent (378 cases) of rapists in Sarawak were 26 years old and above.

“27.1 percent (257 cases) are those between 19 and 25, 15.85 percent (150 cases) are between 17 and 18, 9.8 percent (93 cases) are juveniles between 13 and 16 while 1.4 percent (13 cases) are below 12 years old.

“Those committing such crimes take heed. We now live in an era when people will speak out. You will be discovered and will have to face the consequences of your crime.

“Our prosecution and court services are becoming more child-friendly so that the voices of survivors of abuse can be heard,” warned Fatimah.

The minister said 92.6 percent of the rapists were people known to the victims.

“Of this number, 14.3 percent are involved in incest which is often conducted behind closed walls.”

Fatimah said the offenders were biological fathers and that the victims did not know what sex was about and not aware what was being done to them was criminal.

“Since 2015, as many as 45 cases involved biological fathers, 25 cases involved stepfathers, 19 cases involved grandparents, 30 cases involved uncles while six cases involved brothers-in-law and 10 cases involved siblings.

“Meanwhile, 444 cases involved boyfriends, 283 cases involved people known to the victims and 55 cases involved strangers,” she said.