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Child protection body declares emergency campaign

Latest figures show rise in child abuse cases for third straight year

Child protection body declares emergency campaign
The National Commission for Child Protection held a rally in Jakarta yesterday to raise awareness of child abuse
Ryan Dagur, Jakarta

January 14, 2013

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The National Commission for Child Protection has announced an emergency campaign for 2013 to address an escalating number of child sexual abuse cases.

New commission figures showed the number of reported cases climbed for the third straight year in 2012 with 2,637 instances of child abuse in Indonesia last year against 2,509 in 2011. Last year, 62 percent of abuse cases involved sexual violence, a rise on 58 percent recorded in 2011.

“What is going on? We see this situation as having an emergency status,” said National Commission for Child Protection head Arist Merdeka Sirait yesterday following the announcement of the 2013 campaign.

The commission, an independent body set up by the government, held a rally in Jakarta yesterday to draw attention to the problem.

It has proposed establishing systems at the local level to better report cases of abuse and recommended tougher prison terms for those found guilty of child sex offences.

Sirait called for an amendment to child protection laws to increase prison terms which are typically between three and 10 years.

“Perpetrators should be sentenced to at least 20 years for the suffering they cause to victims,” he said.

Last week, police started to investigate the death of an 11-year-old girl after doctors identified wounds pointing to severe sexual abuse, just one of a series of disturbing cases to emerge already this year, said the head of the child protection commission.

Police say they are still interviewing witnesses, including family members of the girl, and are yet to file charges in relation to the case.

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