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Child Abuse

Introduction

Every child has the right to health and a life free from violence. Each year, at least 1,000 children in Malaysia are reported as victims of child abuse and neglect. Child abuse is a huge global problem with a serious impact on the child’s physical and mental health, well-being and development throughout their lives – and, as such a problem for society in general.

Myths And Realities Of Child Abuse

What is Child Abuse?

Child abuse refers to the physical and emotional mistreatment, sexual abuse, neglect and negligent treatment of children, as well as to their commercial or other exploitation

  • Constitutes all forms of physical abuse and/or emotional ill-treatment, sexual abuse, neglect or negligent treatment or commercial or other exploitation, resulting in actual or potential harm, to the child’s health, survival, development or dignity in the context of a relationship of responsibility, trust or power – WHO Violence Injury and Prevention Team,1999
  • Child abuse is generally divided into four different types of abuse which are :
    • Physical abuse
    • Sexual abuse
    • Emotional abuse
    • Neglect

Types of Child Abuse

  1. Physical Abuse
    • Physical injury (ranging from minor bruises to severe fractures or death)
      • as a result of punching, beating, kicking, biting, shaking, throwing, stabbing, choking, hitting (with a hand, stick, strap, or other objects), burning, or otherwise harming a child.
      • considered abuse regardless of whether the caretaker intended to hurt the child.
    • Intention to hurt may not be present
      • may have resulted from over-discipline or physical punishment
      • from irritation over a crying baby and inability to cope
    • Bullying,and shaken baby syndrome (link) are form of physical abuse
  2. Sexual Abuse
    • The activity is intended to satisfy or gratify the needs of the adult or another child who by age or development is in a position to assume responsibility and trust. Include:
      • Inducement or coercion of a child in any unlawful sexual activity.
      • Commercial exploitation through prostitution or production of pornographic materials
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  3. Emotional Abuse
    • often difficult to prove
    • almost always present when other forms of abuse are identified:
      • patterns of belittling (include school bullying)
      • habitual scapegoating
      • denigrating, humiliating
      • rejecting treatment
      • confinement of child in a dark closet
  4. Neglect
    • Neglect happens when kids live in a home where the adults do not offer their basic needs:
      • Physical -(e.g., failure to provide necessary food or shelter, or lack of appropriate supervision)
      • Medical -(e.g., failure to provide necessary medical or mental health treatment)
      • Educational & supervisional – (e.g., failure to educate a child or offer special service provision)
      • Emotional
        • inattention to a child’s emotional needs
        • failure to provide psychological care
        • permitting the child to consume alcohol or use drugs
      • Consider cultural values, standards of care and level of poverty before reporting as neglect

What is the scale of the problem in Malaysia?

  • Child abuse occur everywhere including Malaysia, however it is still under-reported like in other parts of the world. Reporting is just the tip of the iceberg as many cases of child abuse are unreported. Further please note the difference in numbers reported per state (see table below), which may reflect an actual higher incidence of abuse in the state with a higher number or a higher rate of reporting or a higher population in the state.
  • Data from Jabatan Kebajikan Masyarakat
Year
State
1997
1998
1999
2000
2001
2002
2003
2004
2005
2006
Total
Perlis
10
29
17
16
26
21
16
26
30
44
235
Kedah
25
14
21
33
33
39
63
26
66
102
422
P. Pinang
106
130
125
75
85
130
131
154
131
184
1251
Perak
72
118
105
79
85
80
131
145
172
147
1134
Selangor
212
201
300
349
327
412
368
474
446
498
3587
KL
353
343
191
112
127
269
153
287
415
435
2685
NS
118
80
46
24
39
40
55
67
124
147
740
Melaka
57
41
35
51
36
24
65
64
26
31
430
Johor
109
111
119
116
126
115
156
126
115
91
1184
Pahang
17
23
17
5
25
27
8
38
56
91
307
T’gganu
23
17
21
17
24
20
17
33
16
41
229
Kelantan
46
54
20
24
24
11
31
51
14
8
283
Sarawak
NA
NA
24
31
14
17
19
144
189
180
618
Sabah
NA
NA
63
NA
65
36
176
21
0
6
367
Labuan
1
0
3
2
0
1
1
0
0
0
8
Total
1149
1161
1107
804
1036
1242
1390
1656
1800
2005
13480

 

Year
2000
2001
2002
2003
Type of abuse
L
P
J
L
P
J
L
P
J
L
P
J
Aban
doned
50
21
71
35
35
70
53
68
121
50
48
98
Neglect
99
84
183
154
149
303
189
168
357
184
205
389
Physical
175
187
362
155
132
287
182
172
354
200
210
410
Sexual
24
234
258
26
225
251
22
302
324
28
402
430
Emo
tional
3
21
24
22
34
56
15
17
32
5
27
32
Others
12
24
36
36
33
69
31
23
54
13
18
31
Total
363
571
804
428
608
1036
492
750
1242
480
910
1390

Note : M = Male F = Female T = Total

Last reviewed : 27 April 2012
Writer : Dr. Irene Cheah
Reviewer : Dr. Ranjini S. Sivanesom