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What Is Child Abuse?

over 1 year ago



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What Constitutes Child Abuse?

For a long time now, child abuse has been a global issue and, very often, we come across cases of child abuse in Malaysia.

But first, what constitutes child abuse?

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Physical abuse

Section 17(2) Child Act 2001:

A child is physically injured if there is substantial and observable injury to any part of the child's body as a result of the non-accidental application of force or an agent to the child's body that is evidenced by

  • a laceration, a contusion, an abrasion, a scar, a fracture or other bone injury,
  • a dislocation, a sprain, haemorrhaging, the rupture of a viscus,
  • a burn, a scald,
  • the loss or alteration of consciousness or physiological functioning
  • the loss of hair or teeth;
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Emotional abuse

Section 17(2) Child Act 2001:

A child is emotionally injured if there is substantial and observable impairment of the child's mental or emotional functioning that is evidenced by:a mental or behavioural disorder, including

  • anxiety
  • depression
  • withdrawal
  • aggression
  • delayed development

Sexual Abuse

Section 17(2) Child Act 2001:

A child is sexually abused if he has taken part, whether as a participant or an observer, in any activity which is sexual in nature for the purposes of—

(i) any pornographic, obscene or indecent material, photograph, recording, film, videotape or performance; or

(ii) sexual exploitation by any person for that person's or another person's sexual gratification.


Section 33 Child Act 2001:

Any person who, being a parent or a guardian or a person for the time being having the care of a child, leaves that child:

(a) without making reasonable provision for the supervision and care of the child;

(b) for a period which is unreasonable having regard to all the circumstances; or

(c) under conditions which are unreasonable having regard to all the circumstances,

commits an offence and shall on conviction be liable to a fine not exceeding five thousand ringgit or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding two years or to both.

Reporting child abuse

Unfortunately, child abuse cases are under-reported for various reasons and often go unnoticed by others. Furthermore, survivors are timid and do not speak about the abuse.

If you are suspicious or have concerns of a child being harmed, you can make a report and get help from the child’s family members.

You can call 15999, Childline Malaysia by providing them information such as: the victim's address or location, the abuse type, facts of the case and, most importantly, the abuser's identity or any other information related to the abuser.

Remember to get a case number to refer to as it is easier to follow up.

If you are working with children, learn to read the signs of abuse and do not hesitate to take action.

Picture credits: lvcriminaldefense

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This article is for informational purposes only and should not be taken as legal advice. Every situation is unique and dependent on the facts (ie, the circumstances surrounding your individual case) so we recommend that you consult a lawyer before considering any further action. All articles have been scrutinized by a practicing lawyer to ensure accuracy.
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