The launch of the ‘Child Sex Offenders’ registry, officiated by Deputy Prime Minister Dato’ Seri Dr Wan Azizah binti Wan Ismail and Deputy Women, Community and Family Development Minster Hannah Yeoh, was a move that has been long awaited and needed. While it is only the first of many reforms for childcare, Malaysia is now heading towards a safer future for the younger generation by offering background screening of childcarers.
The recent launch of the Child Sex Offender Registry
With the existence of such a system, it will ensure that those who deal with children, such as babysitters, security guards at schools, school bus drivers, and tuition teachers, are subjected to stringent screening. That being said, it does not mean parents should be under the impression that they can take a back seat in ensuring the safety of their children.
That is not the case at all because complacency has no place in ensuring security, especially those involving children who can only rely on the adults to protect them against such predators. Hannah Yeoh remarked, ‘a vast majority of those on the registry are first-time offenders. For example, 314 people were charged in 2017, but only 14 of them are repeat offenders. Likewise last year 639 people were charged, and only 34 of them are repeat offenders’.
This should raise the red flags of all parents as there are more first-time offenders as compared to repeat offenders and these are records taken only from 2017 up to February 2019. When enrolling their children into schools, tuition centres and others such as piano lessons, parents must be proactive in taking matters into their own hands and running their own screening of such establishments because there are plenty of these offenders that are still running free from the system simply because their past crimes weren’t reported.
While having this new registry is important, the role of parents become ever more essential. The best initiatives in the world would be for naught if it is not used as intended. Parents should take control of who their children interact, especially since the introduction of the new registry would help weed out unsavoury characters in childcare and schools through the screening services the government has provided for free.
There are so many types of people our children interact with, from teachers to nannies to bus drivers to tuition teachers, with so many people involved, why leave any uncertainties? Urge your children’s schools, nurseries and childcare providers to screen before they hire!
Vigilance always pays off at the end of the day.
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