Monday, September 15, 2008

Sexual crimes a top priority

MALAYSIA: SEXUAL crimes amounted to less than one per cent of the total missing children cases in the last five years but the authorities are leaving no stones unturned in their quest to bring these criminals to book.

For the first time, psychological studies on sexual offenders against children, who are still at large, will be done.

Profiling is the process of identifying the offender by understanding the nature of the offence and the way it was carried out.

The profile includes the motives, physical attributes, personality and behavioural tendencies.

Police had also announced that a registry of convicted paedophiles would be maintained.

"The number of sexual cases may be low but the nature of the crime is serious.

"We hope to make some inroads into finding who Nurin's perpetrator was," said ACP Suguram Bibi Munshi Deen, head of the sexual crimes and children division.

The murder of 8-year-old sexual victim Nurin Jazlin Jazimin shocked the nation last year.

Her ravaged body was found stuffed in a sports bag a month after the abduction.

The police are also finalising a standard operating procedure on the response system to missing children reports.

They no longer turn away parents or guardians who lodge a report less than 24 hours after a child has gone missing.

Suguram advised parents or guardians to provide as much information as possible, including the kind of clothes the child was wearing and his/her photographs because the first 48 hours after a child is missing are crucial to his/her safety.

"It's important we get accurate information.

"We have to make decisions on whether the child has been abducted, lost, has gotten into an accident or if the parents are lying to hide a crime against the child."

Suguram said these new policies and practices were in the pipeline even before Nurin's case.

Sharlinie Mohd Nashar, 5, abducted early this year in a playground near her house in Petaling Jaya has yet to be found.

Cases on children who are still missing will not be closed but the police can "discontinue investigating temporarily until fresh leads appear".

Suguram urged parents not to lose hope and to keep providing police with information on the child.

- New Straits Times/Asia News Network

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