Home > TEENAGERS > Sexual Health > Child Abandonment

Child Abandonment

Introduction

Child abandonment is a form of child neglect. It is an offence punishable by the law. It usually results from unwanted pregnancies. Many teenagers who get pregnant outside wedlock are forced to abandon their babies in desperation and fear of the consequences. (See teenage pregnancy).

 

Why do people abandon their child?

  • A majority of these babies are caused by unwanted pregnancy
  • Promiscuity among adolescents contribute to unwanted pregnancy

What are the consequences of child abandonment?

Medical consequences

  • Higher rates of deaths in babies due to inadequate medical care
  • Mother’s health is at risk of blood loss, infection, birth injuries

Psychological consequences

  • Depression
  • Loss of self confidence
  • Guilt feelings
  • Anxiety

Social consequences

  • Legal implications of child abandonment and infanticide (infant killing)
  • Relationships breakdown with partner, family and friends

How can you avoid child abandonment?

Avoid becoming pregnant if you are:

  • Not married
  • Not ready to raise a baby
  • Not ready to have a family. See premarital sex.

 

All the main religions in Malaysia:

  • Prohibit sex before marriage.
  • It is wise to abide by your religion

Avoid having sex before marriage

  • You’re in charge of your own life. Do not let anyone pressure you into having sex
  • PThere are a lot of good reasons to say “No, not yet”. Protecting your health and also your feelings is one of them. You can always say “no” even if you’ve said “yes” before.
  • The partner who loves and respects you will not ask for sex before marriage
  • Remember that your body is your responsibility
  • Avoid reading or viewing pornographic material
  • Get involved in more meaningful activities such as sports, exercise, cultural activities or other volunteer works
  • If you’re already involved in premarital sex:
    • Please think of the consequences carefully
    • Seek help if you’re pregnant. See teenage pregnancy
    • You can arrange for a formal adoption
  • You are not alone.
    • There are organizations that can help you
    • You can arrange for a formal adoption. Be aware of legal implications of child abandonment and infanticide

Where should you seek help from if you are pregnant?

You should consult and speak to:

  • Your parents if you’re able to talk to them
  • Your school counselor
  • Your school teacher
  • A doctor and other health care provider at the nearest Health Clinic or Hospital
  • A welfare officer at the nearest District Welfare department

Legal implications of child abandonment and infanticide

Under Child Act 2001 – Act 611:

  • Section 17 –  Abandoned children will be protected and cared for.
  • Section 46 –Parents can seek help or advice about regarding a child over whom they are unable to exercise proper control whereby such a child will be detained in an approved place under the authority of the court

In Malaysian Criminal laws, as in the Penal Code:

  • Those who abandon babies shall be punished with imprisonment for 20 years
Last Reviewed : 27 April 2012
Content Writer : Dr. Wan Fadhilah bt. Wan Ismail
Reviewer : Dr. Nazrila Hairizan bt. Nasir