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UNICEF Malaysia welcomes launch of Special Criminal Court for sexual offences against children

NEWS RELEASE

Kuala Lumpur, 23 June 2017 – UNICEF applauds the swift launch of the Special Criminal Court for sexual offences against children, and the ‘Permata room’, the technologically equipped holding room for child witnesses in cases involving sexual crimes following the passing of the Sexual Offences against Children Bill 2017 in April.

In addition, UNICEF commends the call to action by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Abdul Razak to establish the working committee to prepare Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) to streamline cases involving sexual crimes against children.

Marianne Clark-Hattingh, UNICEF Representative in Malaysia says, “The launch of the special court is a tangible step towards setting up the systems and structures necessary for protecting the child victims of sexual crimes. UNICEF is ready to lend our support and expertise to the working committee in order to establish standard operating procedures for handling cases involving child sexual victims. This court is an important step in a series of initiatives needed to ensure that the Malaysian judicial system continues to protect child victims of sexual crimes.”

UNICEF supports Dato’ Sri Azalina’s proposal for the working committee to review the newly passed Sexual Offences against Children bill 2017 to explore whether it requires necessary amendments to further strengthen protection for child victims and for child victims to also have the support of a “legal companion”.

Additionally, the Malaysian criminal justice system is encouraged to consider additional improvements to court practices for child victims such as:

  • Having dedicated, experienced judges/magistrates and prosecutors who are specially trained in child behaviour and development issues;
  • Clear practice directions or guidelines for judges/magistrates and prosecutors on handling cases involving children;
  • Special procedures for collection of evidence from child victims and witnesses should be implemented in order to reduce the number of interviews, statements, hearings;
  • Pre-trial “directions” or “ground rules” hearings between judges and counsel to agree on how the child will give evidence, well in advance of the trial date.

About UNICEF

UNICEF promotes the rights and wellbeing of every child, in everything we do.  Together with our partners, we work in 190 countries and territories to translate that commitment into practical action, focusing special effort on reaching the most vulnerable and excluded children, to the benefit of all children, everywhere. 

 

For more information about UNICEF and its work for children, visit https://www.unicef.org/

 

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For more information, please contact:

Rachel Choong

Communications Officer (Media)

UNICEF Malaysia

Contact No.: +6012 416 2872

Email: rchoong@unicef.org

 

 

 
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