In 2015, Social Welfare Department of Malaysia (“JKM”) reported that 4,453 Malaysian children have been involved in maltreatment cases.
On average, at least 12 children get maltreated each day in the country. The Crime Survey for England and Wales has shown that 51% of adults who went through maltreatment as a child are also prone to experiencing domestic abuse in their later years. Thus, Malaysian children getting abused expose themselves to higher risk of experiencing abuse in their later years. There is also an over-representation of child abuse cases in female children, despite the population of male children (4.9 million) being greater than the female children (4.6 million) in the country. Female children are found to be more prone to getting abused (68%) compared to male children (32%).
Common types of child maltreatment in Malaysia include negligence (34%), physical (26%), sexual (22%) and emotional abuse (3%), unfit guardian (9%) and child abandonment (4%). 82% of children maltreatment were either in the form of negligence, physical, or sexual abuse. The aftermath of child abuse can cause impaired lifelong physical and mental health. In addition, the social and occupational outcomes of child abuse accumulate to slow down a country’s economic and social development.
While 4,453 children maltreatment cases may not seem like a lot, it is important to note that many children maltreatment cases go unreported. Regardless, the repercussions of children maltreatment are unarguably severe, and the mindset of “even one child is too many” needs to be instilled as a critical first step to addressing the issue.