Over 4,700 cases of sexual offences against children resolved

23 Mar 2023 04:02pm
For illustration purpose - Foto 123rf
For illustration purpose - Foto 123rf
KUALA LUMPUR - A total of 4,713 cases under the Sexual Offences Against Children Act 2017 (Act 792) have been resolved from 2018 to last January.

Minister in the Prime Minister's Department (Law and Institutional Reforms) Datuk Seri Azalina Othman Said said during that period, a total of 5,519 cases were reported and 3,060 cases had been prosecuted in court.

Thus, she said the enactment of Act 792 was a good step in helping the police conduct investigations and the prosecution in framing specific charges under the Act compared to general criminal laws that apply to adults, such as the Penal Code.

"This is because cases of sexual offences involving child victims will often have unique characteristics, which are not present in cases involving adults. Therefore, the provisions in Act 792 can provide protection which is more accurate and comprehensive for children,” she said during the Minister's Question Time in the Dewan Rakyat today.

She was responding to a question from Young Syefura Othman (PH-Bentong) regarding the number of cases involving sexual offences against children that have been reported, prosecuted and resolved since Act 792 was enforced.

Azalina said the government is in the process of making several amendments to Act 792 to improve the existing provisions.

She said the government will also amend the Evidence of Child Witness Act 2007 (Act 676) to provide for special hearings whereby the testimony of a child witness can be taken in the form of a video recording so children do not have to attend the trial (thus avoiding the trauma of facing the abuser in court).

She said this amendment will also allow the court to prohibit inappropriate questions from being asked so a child witness can give evidence calmly and comfortably.

"All steps taken in the process of the criminal justice system for a case of sexual crime against children should be child-friendly,” she said.
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Meanwhile, at a press conference later, Azalina said the amendment to Act 792 will be able to deal with new threats in line with the development of technology.

"In the act, there is a reference to child pornography. So now we will amend the word ‘pornography’ to ‘child sexual abuse material’,” she said. adding that amendments would also be made to Section 15 of the law by including additional offences involving sex in live streaming (in real time) and sexual extortion.

"We are proposing a prison sentence of up to 20 years or a fine of RM50,000 for the offence of live streaming sex and 10 years in prison for the offence of sex extortion,” she said. - BERNAMA