Increasing statutory rape cases worrying – Police

Despite mutual 'consent' between those involved, it is classified as rape as they involve underage victims.

27 Feb 2024 02:37pm
Shuhaily. Photo by Bernama
Shuhaily. Photo by Bernama

KUALA LUMPUR - The number of cases of statutory rape involving teenagers, aged 16 and below, has increased in recent years and is becoming increasingly worrying.

Bukit Aman Criminal Investigation Department (CID) director, Datuk Seri Mohd Shuhaily Mohd Zain, said that such acts, despite mutual 'consent' between those involved, are classified as rape as they involve underage victims.

"Based on Royal Malaysia Police (PDRM) records, there was an increase of 202 cases or 11.8 per cent last year, compared with 2022,” he told Bernama in an exclusive interview recently.

He expressed particular concern that most of these cases involve the B40 group (low-income households) and that the lack of parental supervision, in addition to easy access to pornography online, has contributed to the occurrence of such crimes.

In this context, he emphasised the role of parents, who must supervise their children and be tech-savvy to control internet use and prevent their children from accessing inappropriate websites.

The evolving landscape of borderless communication and easy accessibility has a profound impact on children, as they can access prohibited content without adequate control, and consequently engage in immoral activities.

"In the past, pornographic material was hard to find, but now it's all up for grabs; all this material is easily accessible on smartphones, regardless of age,” he said.

He pointed out that parents’ lack of knowledge and control over the content codes of the websites visited by their children has negative consequences, especially allowing children as young as five years old to access the internet under the guise of educational material.

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Shuhaily said that the police cannot do this alone, as it requires the cooperation of all parties, including family institutions, educational institutions and even policymakers, to tackle this problem together.

"A good policy will produce a good society,” he said. - BERNAMA