The outpouring of public outrage against a recent child abuse case of a seven-year-old boy was unprecedented even by the wake of contemporary, similarly tragic incidents of child abuse and murder. The poor child was found drowned in a tub and had physical injuries under his biological mother and stepfather’s care.
Deputy Women, Family, and Community Development Minister Siti Zailah Mohd Yusoff mentioned that in 2018, we had 1,703 cases of physical assault, 1,571 in 2019, and 1,120 up to September this year. Meanwhile, there were 1,705 cases of sexual assault in 2018, 1,865 in 2019 and 3,875 child abuse cases were reported from January to September 2020.
Nearly three decades have passed since the tragic death of Balasundram, a 15-month-old baby who was allegedly beaten to death by his mother’s father. On May 13th 1990, the tiny boy was tortured to death over a few weeks in a room located at Chow Kit road.
Despite government and private sector advocacy campaigns, child abuse tends to consume the headlines.
Why does it matter?
The hazard to their lives and wellbeing, neglected children suffer from detrimental long-term consequences, social workers claim, citing various reports. This varies from mental health disorders, such as depression and anxiety disorder, to a greater chance in puberty of experiencing aggressive and criminal behaviour.
The tale of baby Balasundram has been replicated again and again in places where children should feel happiest when with their families, schools, suburbs or even under the supervision of nannies.
There is nothing isolated about child abuse, because there have been multiple fatal cases in Malaysia. In fact the mainstream media have portrayed that child abuse is way too common nowadays.
Child abuse is a significant worldwide crucial cause of concern, and right now it’s being highlighted in Malaysia. To keep our children safe, we have to stand against it.
But the question is how?
During the Movement Control Order (MCO) phase, child abuse cases have escalated as parents are cooped up with their children at home.
Member of Parliament for Segambut, Hannah Yeoh called on the government to use all the tools available to promote the Talian Kasih number. This eventually entails attempts to increase awareness and encourage locals to identify cases of child neglect and domestic violence via MKN SMS.
If you have encountered or come across any child abuse incidents at your surroundings, please do your part and promptly notify Talian Kasih at 15999 or send them a text via WhatsApp at 019-2615999.