SOP being finalised to handle sexual crimes against children

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Source: FMT News

PUTRAJAYA: Four special guidelines to handle cases of sexual offences against children are expected to be finalised by Oct 30, said Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Azalina Othman Said.

She said the special Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) to be used was in accordance with international best practices and would meet the needs and requirements of child witnesses.

“The government’s hope is to provide protection to children in all aspects, whether in making a report, at the court and so forth,” she told reporters after opening the first working committee in the preparation of special guidelines for the handling of cases of sexual crimes against children, here today.

The special SOP is the guidelines for receiving reports and investigations on cases of sexual crimes against children; trial on cases of sexual crimes against children; on handling child witnesses/victims; and on providing protection and support to children who are victims of sexual crimes.She said the working committee would conduct a comprehensive study and get the views of all stakeholders, including on child psychologists.

Among the working committee members are the Federal Court chief registrar’s office, Attorney-General’s Chambers, Royal Malaysia Police, health ministry, women, family and community development ministry, Legal Aid Bureau, Welfare Department, Bar Council, academicians and non-governmental organisations.

Azalina was also of the view that the Child Witness Act 2007 needed to be reviewed and amended as there were many sophisticated technologies available today.

Touching on media reports, she said based on the Child Act any child involved in a case must be given protection and their name and appearance should never be exposed even when wearing caps and masks.