PETALING JAYA: Child sexual abuse victims will suffer long-term consequences if they do not receive prompt treatment, said clinical psychologist Evelyn Song.

She was commenting on a March 29 case involving a jobless man who pleaded guilty in the Ipoh Sessions Court to charges of molesting and raping his 19-year-old daughter at a house in Batu Gajah.

The assailant was also charged with using criminal violence against his daughter with the intent to outrage her modesty at the same location at 8:30am on March 20.

Song, who specialises in working with underprivileged and at-risk youths, said it is imperative for child or teenage victims of sexual abuse and offsprings of such victims to receive therapy promptly.

“The support should be sustained and extended to adulthood. Such an approach would address complex and enduring psychological impacts of their (trauma).”

She said neglecting to offer such therapy would subject the victims to a range of problems, with long-lasting repercussions.

“One of the adverse long-term consequences of sexual abuse is the recurrence of re-victimisation incidents in which the victim may be at a heightened risk of being repeatedly victimised in the future.

“This cycle of re-victimisation can perpetuate feelings of vulnerability, powerlessness and trauma, which worsens the psychological impact of the initial abuse.”

Song said victims may also face challenges in their academic pursuits and interpersonal relationships, battle with substance abuse and express anger inappropriately.

“They may also suffer depression, eating disorders, involve themselves in delinquent or criminal activities, participate in risky sexual behaviour or have suicidal thoughts.”

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Bar Council Child Rights Committee chairperson Kokila Vaani Vadiveloo viewed sexual offences as being among the most heinous of crimes as they cause immense short and long-term harm to the victims.

“Strong punishment for sexual crimes provides justice to the victims and deters repeat offences. It also helps to ensure children, young girls and women in general are safer in society.”

Kokila stressed the importance of imposing severe penalties in cases involving sexual offences and said those who rape their children are seemingly not afraid of the law, even after being sentenced to prison.

A Bukit Aman Sexual, Women and Child Investigation Division spokesman said in 2023, police recorded a total of 3,226 reports of sexual harassment and assault cases involving females, while those involving males numbered 135.

He said the statistics also revealed from 2021 to 2023, a total of 4,491 women reported they were raped.

“A total of 18,326 child victims of sexual crimes were reported from 2018 to November 2023. Over 89% or 16,447 of the cases involved rape, physical sexual assault on a child and incest. All the cases involved physical harm.

“More than 50% of all reported sexual crimes investigated by police resulted in prosecution, while the rest are under investigation.”

ALSO READ: More children targeted by paedophiles online: Watchdog

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