WAO launches report on child abuse survivors, first green child care centre

Deputy Women, Family and Community Development Minister Hannah Yeoh (second from right) holds up a copy of WAO's report 'Where's the Child? The rights of Child Domestic Violence Survivors' in Kelana Jaya April 12, 2019. — Picture by Miera Zulyana
Deputy Women, Family and Community Development Minister Hannah Yeoh (second from right) holds up a copy of WAO's report 'Where's the Child? The rights of Child Domestic Violence Survivors' in Kelana Jaya April 12, 2019. — Picture by Miera Zulyana

PETALING JAYA, April 12 — The Women’s Aid Organisation’s (WAO) launched today its report on the experiences of child survivors of domestic violence and its groundbreaking green child care centre, at Rehda Institute this morning.

Deputy Women, Family and Community Development Minister Hannah Yeoh was the guest of honour at the event attended by over 200 people.

“We need to be more alert with our children, to be aware if there’s been a change in attitude and behaviour, to see the extent of negative behaviour and if it’s a consequential effect of parents marital problem,” she said in her speech.

She said that one of the main contributors to child abuse were family disputes, a significant 17 per cent of the 26,314 cases recorded from 2013 to November 2018.

The WAO report titled “Where's the Child? The Rights of Child Domestic Violence Survivor” includes 21 cases detailing the experiences of children who either faced direct abuse or witnessed abuse from their mothers and fathers.

Today’s report is the sixth produced by WAO since 1997.

Natasha Dandavati, a senior research and advocacy officer at WAO and one of the report writers said that children are often overlooked when it came to the services provided to domestic abuse survivors.

She added that children were “altogether absent from the conversation around law and policy reform”.

“This is something we hope that together we can remedy,” she said.  

WAO’s new green child care centre is a corporate social responsibility (CSR) project by Rehda Youth in partnership with the WAO and others to help children heal from such trauma. It will be the first of its kind in Malaysia.

The building, which will be in Petaling Jaya, is expected to be completed in a year and is a rebuilding of WAO’s child care centre that was destroyed in a fire in 2016.

The centre will house over 20 children who have experienced and witnessed domestic abuse and will be the first Platinum-certified child care centre in Malaysia by GreenRE, Malaysia’s leading green building certification body.

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