Despite over 20,000 child sexual abuse reports, only 107 in official database

Datuk Azizah Mohd Dun said the Child Registry database has only recorded 107 official cases. ― Picture by Saw Siow Feng
Datuk Azizah Mohd Dun said the Child Registry database has only recorded 107 official cases. ― Picture by Saw Siow Feng

KUALA LUMPUR, March 7 — Despite over 20,000 reports of child sexual abuse cases, the Child Registry database has only recorded 107 official cases, the Women, Family and Community Development ministry revealed today.

“The data in the Child Registry can only be revealed to those allowed by the welfare (department) director-general.

“107 offenders in the Registry, and (this is) always updated from time to time,” its deputy minister deputy minister Datuk Azizah Mohd Dun told the Dewan Rakyat.

She was responding to a question by Kelana Jaya MP Wong Chen, who had asked when the ministry would be implementing the Child Registry, the criteria, and if the offenders would be categorised according to specific sexual offences.

He also asked whether the said list would be made public.

In her reply, Azizah said that the ministry would also observe the effectiveness of the Child Registry, as it is still new, with only 107 names recorded currently.

“On whether effective or not, as everyone know this Registry is something new, we only have 107 names, and we will see for a certain time. In the other western countries, the registry has been there for many years.

“Give us time to see how effective this is,” she added.

In his press conference later, Wong expressed alarm over the number of names recorded in the Registry, adding that there were 22,135 reported child sexual abuse cases between 2010 and May 2017.

Of this number, he said 13,272 cases were child rape and the balance 8,863 are for other offences, including, but not limited to molestation, incest and unnatural sex.

“This means there are approximately 2,500 cases of child sexual abuse cases a year. Note that this does not include unreported cases, which is higher,” he said, adding that a number of academic studies on the matter, showed that the number of unreported cases are almost three times higher than reported cases.

Wong also called on the ministry to “buck up” and triple their efforts in tackling child sexual crimes, and demanded that it also prepare an annual report on such cases.

The Child Act (Amendment) 2016 was amended in July 2016, and included the registry of child offenders to help employers run a background check on their potential employees.

In November last year, the ministry said that not much can be done by the government to ensure the full use of the Child Registry, which has since January included the database of child offenders, due to limited power in enforcing its usage.

Minister Datuk Seri Rohani Abdul Karim said the ministry was only able to encourage potential employers to utilise the registry but could not make it a mandatory requirement.

The ministry had said the registry was not being fully utilised as there was limited advocacy and awareness, and that some employers do not see the importance behind conducting checks against their potential employees.

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