KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 11 — Special courts to hear sexual crimes against children will be set up in every state by the end of next year, chief registrar of the Federal Court of Malaysia said today.
According to a report in The Star Online, Datuk Seri Latifah Mohd Tahar said the decision to establish 12 branches of the Special Criminal Court on sexual crimes against children was partly in response to the rise in the number of charges filed at the first special court in Putrajaya since it started operations six months ago.
Judges with 15 years’ experience and well-versed in criminal law have been identified to be assigned to preside over the courts, she added.
It was also announced that a new standard operating procedure (SOPs) on child protection and the handling of such sexual offences will be launched on Wednesday by Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Azalina Othman Said.
The SOPs will include support services for the child and the role of child counsellors in helping victims to deal with their trauma, The Star Online report saud.
“Currently, a child psychologist from the Social Welfare Department is asked to be present during proceedings only upon the court’s request,” Latifah was quoted as saying.
“More support systems for the child should be in place from day one until the end of their case.”
The special court which is said to be the first of its kind in South-east Asia, was launched by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak on June 22.