Women's Empowerment and Child Protection Minister Yohana Yembise pays her respects at the grave of Putri Nur Fauziah, a 9-year-old girl who was found murdered in West Jakarta earlier this year. (Antara Photo/Lucky R.)

Sexual Abuse Dominates the Year's Crimes Against Children, Group Says

DECEMBER 22, 2015

Jakarta. A child protection advocacy group has recorded nearly 3,000 reports of child abuse throughout the year, of which almost 60 percent were sexual assault and abuse cases.

In a press conference at its office in East Jakarta on Tuesday, the National Commission on Child Protection (Komnas PA) said it has received 2,898 complaints this year — 59.3 percent of which were sexual abuse cases while the remaining cases were physical abuse, abandonment, illegal adoption and child trafficking.

Komnas PA secretary general Samsul Ridwan said 62 percent of sexual assault cases were perpetrated by someone known to the child.

“It can be the children's own fathers, neighbors, teachers or brothers,” he said.

Arist Merdeka Sirait, Komnas PA chairman, said the government and law enforcement agencies have not focused enough on solving and preventing child abuse cases.

“With all these crimes happening to children, it is fitting that such cases be considered as extraordinary crimes just like corruption, terrorism and drugs. We want sexual abuse crimes be punished severely,” he said.

Arist has been calling for offenders in severe child abuse cases to be sentenced to death.

Sexual abuse physically harms children in the short term, but also leads to psychological wounds which take much longer to heal, he said. Children are particularly at risk as they are unable to defend themselves, particularly if assaulted by an adult family member.

The group supports the government's plan to introduce chemical castration for offenders, despite criticism from other experts and activists.

“Why should we care about the rights of the perpetrators? Think about the victims. We must prioritize the victims,” Arist said.

This year has seen a string of high-profile cases involving children, including the June murder of 8-year-old Balinese schoolgirl Engeline and a 9-year-old girl who was found sexually assaulted and murdered in Kalideres, West Jakarta, in October.