Introduce child protection policies in every school

KUCHING: Sarawak Women for Women Society (SWWS) strongly proposes that there should be child protection policies in every school as well as other establishments working with children.  

“As for teenagers, there can be discussions to include the issue of rape of both minors and adults. These discussions should be conducted respectfully,” they told New Sarawak Tribune when contacted.

They said this when commenting on Sarawak Community Policing Association’s (SCPA) recommendation that schools include studies on sexual abuse, including paedophilia, in their syllabus to create awareness among the young.

SCPA stressed that schools played an important role in protecting children from sexual predators.

“SWWS is happy to work with groups, such as SCPA, as we already have the training modules for training of trainers (TOT) — the way to build capacity so that we can reach across the state,” they said.

They said they would also look forward to working together with teacher training colleges in the state if opportunities and resources were available.

As part of their public awareness programmes, the Society said they had embarked on their child personal safety programme back in the 1990s but rather sporadically as and when funds and resources were available.

“We have also conducted child personal safety (child sexual abuse) programmes in selected schools in Kuching and Samarahan Divisions over the years,” they said.

SWWS said that in 2018, with funding from the Ministry of Welfare, Community Wellbeing, Women, Family and Childhood Development (KWKPK), they were able to conduct TOT for primary school teachers in the divisions of Miri and Sri Aman.

“About 250 teachers in total attended the TOT. The objectives of the training were to equip participants with the knowledge and skills to launch a keep safe programme in their respective schools and to increase the participants’ awareness on how to handle and respond appropriately to children who disclose sexual abuse.

They said that in 2019, with funding from Bursa Malaysia, they conducted a similar training session for about 80 primary school teachers in Limbang Division.

The Society said that, also in 2019, they were invited to join the Randau programme organised by the Social Development Council under KWKPK.

“We use a similar module for the primary school kids and the Healthy Relationship module for secondary school students.

“Whatever information is being disseminated should be age-appropriate. It is important that training should be inclusive of boys as abusers target them too,” said SWWS.