KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 18 — The number of child protection officers under the Social Welfare Department needs to be increased immediately, to handle cases of child abuse and neglect.
Women, Family and Community Development Minister Datuk Seri Rina Mohd Harun said this is because the current ratio of child protection officers to children is insufficient.
“The current ratio is one child protection officer for 50 to 100 children. Our target is one child protection officer for 30 to 35 children nationwide,” she said.
She explained that the role of the child protection officer in rescuing and guaranteeing the well-being of children who are victims of abuse needs to be strengthened, considering that cases of abuse and neglect are now becoming more complex.
She added that these officers also have a role to prepare social reports for use by the court, in determining appropriate placement and for individuals to look after the children who are victims of abuse.
Rina said this while visiting two children, suspected of being abused by their aunt and uncle, at the Ampang Hospital near here today.
Two days ago, the two children, aged eight and six, were reported to have been rescued by the Selangor Fire and Rescue Department, when one of them attempted to escape through a window on the fourth floor of a building.
Regarding the case, Rina said the conditions of the two children, who were at the Ampang Hospital receiving treatment, were improving and they looked happier.
She also expressed her gratitude to those who made a complaint about the child’s attempt to jump from a condominium unit, which eventually revealed the abuse they suffered.
She added that the community’s concern for each other’s well-being, as shown by the complainant, should be emulated by all to deal with such cases.
“I would also like to ask teachers to pay attention to their students. When a child goes to school, if there are bruises and so on, that could be a sign for the teacher to take further action,
“This is the role of all levels of society to look after each other as Keluarga Malaysia,” she said.