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Friday, October 23, 2009

A harsher punishment for child abuse

Child abuse is the physical and/or psychological/emotional mistreatment of children. Most child abuse occurs in a child's home, with a smaller amount occurring in the organizations, schools or communities the child interacts with. There are four major categories of child abuse: neglect, physical abuse, psychological/emotional abuse, and sexual abuse.

Why am I talking about child abuse suddenly? Today I have come across an article in the star online, stating that the Wanita Gerakan backs the proposal by Women, Family and Community Development Minister Datuk Shahrizat Abdul Jalil that child abusers should face harsher punishment.

I think that this is a very good proposal, considering the current punishment Under the Children’s Protection Act, offenders can only be sentenced to a maximum of two years’ jail or fined RM5,000 or both, while the number of child abuse cases had steadily risen to 278 child abuse cases from September 2007 to October 2008, according to the social welfare department statistics. This number is considered high, and obviously, it does not show the actual number of cases, as most of it may not be reported to the authority. It is proven by the number of the statistics, that the punishment only does little to help alleviate the problem.

This is not fair, as a lot of problem can rise from this issue, such as the child could be psychopathic, the increase of juvenile cases and making the child mental development becomes retarded. There also had been cases where the child that had been mentally and physically abused by their parents, killed the whole family.

Furthermore, the problem does not only arise from an abused child, it also comes from the child abuser. When they are only being punished lightly, they might not learn, and continue to do some more dangerous problems, such as murdering or hurting the child or others. This can bee seen in a recent case, whereby, a man with a history of child abuse and assault, killing a women and burying her with cement in a concrete staircase. I wonder what more violent cases will be conducted by a child abuser.

Thus, it is important that the problem to be curbed, with a harsher punishment, to give awareness to the society to not do child abuse.