BATU PAHAT: Parents of children with special needs, who are categorised as persons with disablities (PwD), have been urged to come forward, and not be embarrassed to meet and share their problems with the Social Welfare Department (JKM).

Deputy Women, Family and Community Development Minister Datuk Seri Dr Noraini Ahmad expressed hope that parents with special needs children, especially autism, would not face their problems alone.

She said the problems that they were facing need to be shared immediately by informing the department, as it has a special counsellor to assist them.

“We know that when there are children with autism, it poses a different challenge to look after them. If there is a problem, let JKM know, where JKM can help... so that this pressure is not faced alone.

“If these people suffer from financial constraints, insya-Allah, JKM will look into it and then assist them with all the problems of caring for autistic children...we don’t want them to be abused due to pressure,” she said.

She said this in a press conference, after the ‘Child Protection Advocacy Programme: Love Children, Educate Children, Get Help Immediately If Needed’ at Sekolah Menengah Kebangsaan (SMK) Dato’ Onn, here, today.

On advocacy, Noraini said that it was aimed at addressing issues related to child safety, especially the increasing cases of abuse and neglect.

She said in 2022, 6,770 cases of children in need of care and protection were recorded, while in 2023, the number of cases increased to 7,532.

“For this year (2024), as of March, a total of 2,277 cases have been reported, and we are concerned that cases are increasing, and at the same time will be widely covered by social media especially.

“Hence, that’s why we are holding this advocacy programme in schools, with a target of 300 schools. We will implement it until the end of this year,“ she said.

She added that, among the contents of the programme are actions or methods which can be implemented in the event of a case involving a child who needs protection and care.

Apart from the Ministry of Women, Family and Community Development, the advocacy programme also involves the Ministry of Education, the police and the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission.