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Child policy to be submitted to cabinet soon

KUALA LUMPUR, 9 Jan 2009: The National Child Care Protection Policy, which among others, gives protection to abused children, is expected to be tabled at the cabinet meeting for approval soon.

Woman, Family and Community Development Minister Datuk Dr Ng Yen Yen said the policy paper which was in the final stage, was expected to be implemented by the middle of this year.

“We will present the paper to the Cabinet this month or next, and its approval is important because the policy states very clearly who is responsible for the caring of children, and what they should do.

“Those responsible are parents, care providers like kindergarten teachers and doctors. When they receive or see a child abuse case, they have to report to the Welfare Department and police,” she told reporters here today.

Earlier, Ng witnessed the handing over of two Disaster Relief Mobile Units costing RM200,000 donated by the Lions Club of Subang Jaya to the National Population and Family Development Board (LPPKN).

The club was represented by its president Tony Siew Kee Len and LPPKN by its  director Datuk Aminah Abdul Rahman.

Ng said, under the policy, those responsible who failed to report a child abuse case to either the Welfare Department or police would be fined RM5,000 or given two years’ jail, or both, if found guilty.

She said the policy was urgently needed since currently there was no law or policy to punish anyone for not reporting any child abuse or child neglect case.

“We have sent our welfare officers, as the monitoring agents, to go to the ground to find out why the public have not reported cases. Maybe they were scared of retaliation by the culprits.

“Punishing for not reporting is not the main thing but the most important aspect is protection,” she said, adding that the policy was different from the Child Act 2001.

“The policy is needed to increase public awareness and to forge networking with those responsible for child care and protection,” she said.

The Child Act 2001, also known as Act 611, streamlines the laws pertaining to the care, protection and rehabilitation of children with provisions for related matters.

Among the responsibilities outlined by Act 611 is the role and responsibility of the parents or guardians in ensuring the well-being of children, their responsibility of reporting child abuse cases, and the establishment of the Juvenile Court.

Ng said there were 228 reported child abuse cases and 12 child neglect cases between December 2007 and December 2008 via the NUR Line, a hotline for reporting domestic violence and child abuse.

On the mobile units, Ng said the two vans equipped with facilities for breast and blood pressure checks, urine tests, bone scans and other health checks were for the benefit of people in the rural areas. — Bernama

 

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