PSSC plans to deliver comprehensive roadmap on child justice system

28 May 2022 05:03pm
Photo for illustration purpose only - Source: 123rf
Photo for illustration purpose only - Source: 123rf

KUALA LUMPUR - The Parliamentary Special Select Committee (PSSC) on Women and Children Affairs and Social Development plans to deliver a comprehensive set of recommendations or roadmap on child victims and witnesses in the justice system.

Its chairman, Datuk Seri Azalina Othman Said explained that the recommendations were a result of the PSSC’s meetings and engagements during a four-day study tour of London, the United Kingdom (UK), which ended on Thursday (May 26), with the aim of providing valuable insights to local government agencies.

Azalina, who is also the Pengerang Member of Parliament (MP), said the recommendations would emphasise the constructive roles that agencies could play as well as the need to address the multi-agency policies and overlapping jurisdictions on the victim support system so as to encourage and enhance grassroots participation.

"We as lawmakers are only a part of the system, and we need input and recommendations from all agencies. With their input, the PSSC can coordinate and draw out a roadmap and make recommendations to enhance the system.

"The UK is good in supporting child victims and witnesses through the entire process. It is not only about the conviction rates, it’s about when incidents like this happen to any child, they know that the system is there to support them,” she said in a statement.

The key objectives of the visit were to learn about various victim support services, inter-agency cooperation, legal reforms, child safeguarding policies, as well as other child and victim-centric measures and initiatives.

Some of the key meetings and activities held included engagements with the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association, the Westminster Foundation for Democracy, Equalities & Human Rights Commission (EHRC), National Crime Agency, Internet Watch Foundation, We Protect Alliance, Office of the National Statistic, Victim Support UK, Old Bailey Central Criminal Courts, the Lighthouse, Judiciary, Barristers, Crown Prosecution Services, Metropolitan Police London and Youth Justice Board.

The other members of the Malaysian delegation included Ahmad Tarmizi Sulaiman (Sik MP), Alice Lau Kiong Yieng (Lanang MP), Hannah Yeoh (Segambut MP), Ahmad Fahmi Mohamed Fadzil (Lembah Pantai MP) and Fuziah Salleh (Kuantan MP).

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Azalina said the PSSC recognised the need to harmonise and streamline existing Malaysian laws and have clarity on the definitions used in interpreting laws where children are concerned, as conflicting legislatures might result in inconsistent outcomes for victims and perpetrators.

The PSSC intends to continue its inquiry into this issue and expand its stakeholder engagement with other relevant institutions and agencies, including the Bar Council, the Attorney-General’s Chambers, the Department of Statistic Malaysia and other key stakeholders.

The delegation also explored reforms in relation to improving the child victims’ and witnesses’ experience in the criminal justice process, good practices concerning working with children in conflict with the law and preventing offending and reoffending through various measures including community-based interventions.

"It is a very important matter. There are many aspects that we can learn from and make improvements in our system, including the legislative, executive and judiciary functions. The PSSC wishes to extend its recommendations to all the relevant ministries,” said Ahmad Fahmi. - BERNAMA