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Children affected should be Malaysia’s priority

Kuala Lumpur, 3 June 2016

KUALA LUMPUR: As an international child-focused organisation, World Vision Malaysia (WVM) is deeply saddened by the atrocities committed by Richard Huckle against children of Malaysia. Amidst the outcry against Huckle, World Vision Malaysia urges the Malaysian Government to not neglect the well-being of the victims and their families.

The Malaysian government must ensure that proper medical and psychological care is made freely available to the 23 children and families who have been exploited and abused by Huckle for as long as they need it.

WVM Chief Executive Officer, Dato’ Ir. K J Abraham said, “These children and families were already in a fragile and vulnerable situation when Huckle identified and abused them. His damaging actions could well have destroyed their psychological, social and mental fibre, and the subsequent media and public attention may trigger further traumatic experiences.

“It is imperative that we provide the children with all the care and protection they need without placing blame so that they and their families can heal even as they receive proper and holistic support.”

Abraham further stated that governments must work together to develop programmes that help keep children safe in their own countries. This is because as net tightens around paedophiles at in their home countries, some may seek out vulnerable victims in developing countries.

“It's vital that governments develop programmes that help keep children safe in their own countries. However, national and international law enforcement agencies must also work together to protect children from roaming sex offenders. Children are let down by a system that can't work across borders to protect them,” he added.

WVM is joining a chorus of voices for an immediate review of the policies and guidelines for the hiring of any individuals working with children in Malaysia.

WVM Child Protection Officer, Joelle Low, said the massive exploitation of defenceless children is a deafening shout that a stricter screening process for any individual working with children is essential.

“On the national front, we need to strengthen our local child protection mechanisms. This includes better and safer avenues for reporting, education and awareness as well as stronger legislation protecting children from all forms of sexual abuse,” she said.

As a child-safe organisation, WVM takes steps to keep children protected by having strict screening measures for staff recruitment, child protection training for staff and the establishment of processes that protect the safety, dignity and well-being of the children we work with.

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