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GHS 1013 HEALTH, SAFETY AND NUTRITION

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INTRODUCTION
Adults, teenagers and those working or interacts with children has to be

responsible for their safety, or in other words, safeguarding them. According to


SafeNetwork (2011), it might be difficult to accept, but every child can be hurt, put
at risk of harm or abused, regardless of their age, gender, religion or ethnicity.
Safeguarding legislation and government guidance says that safeguarding
means:

Protecting children from maltreatment;


Preventing impairment of childrens health or development;
Ensuring that children are growing up in circumstances consistent with the

provision of safe and effective care;


Taking action to enable all children and young people to have the best
outcome.

Figure 1: The meaning of safeguarding children.

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The action we take to promote the welfare of children and protect them
from harm is everyones responsibility. Everyone who comes into contact with
children and families has a role to play.According to SafeNetwork (2011), almost
one in five children today has experienced serious physical abuse, sexual abuse
or severe physical or emotional neglect at some point in their lifetime.

Figure 2: Children.
SafeNetwork (2011) goes on to say that one in 10 children in the UK has
been neglected.There were a total of 21,493 sexual offences against children
recorded by police in the UK in 2011/12.One in 14 children in the UK has been
physically abused.Around one in five children in the UK has been exposed to
domestic violence.On average, every week in the UK, at least one child is killed
at the hands of another person.Over a third of serious case reviews involves a
child under one.
For every child placed on a child protection plan or the child protection
register, SafeNetwork (2011) estimates there are another eight children who are
suffering from abuse and neglect and not getting the support they need.Finally,

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deaf and disabled children are more than three times more likely to be abused or
neglected than non-disabled children.
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CHILD PROTECTION LAW AND SAFE WORKING PRACTICES IN


MALAYSIA

Figure 3: A child holding a Keep Me Safe sign.


According to AfridahAbas (2012), child abuse and violence are of global
concern and have been an issue long outstanding. Even though many steps
have been taken by the government to prevent it, statistic shows that child abuse
cases keep increasing. Children experience violence in all spaces most familiar
to them: in homes, schools and communities they live in. They also suffer abuse
and exploitation in orphanages, in place of detention and on streets.
The willful maltreatment of children has been recognized internationally as
a matter of great sociological impact with legal significant and medical

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concern.Law as one of the mechanism to ensure that all the policy and planning
of the government run smoothly. For example, it is a policy of the government of
Malaysia that no child is abused or neglected.
Therefore the government of Malaysia has passed legislations to protect
the child from being abused and also to ensure the perpetrator being punished.
The Domestic Violence Act 1994 and the Child Act 2001 are the main
legislations, which govern the case of child abuse. The other laws, which dealt
with the case of child abuse, are the Penal Code and the Evidence of Child
Witness Act 2007 (AfridahAbas; 2012).
According to the Malaysian Child Act 2001 (revised 2006), child protection
is a priority for the Government of Malaysia. TheMalaysia, a consolidation of
three previous laws on issues relating to child protection and juvenile justice,
namely the Juvenile Courts Act 1947, Women and Young Girls Protection Act
1973 and Child Protection Act 1991, is part of the protective legal environment for
children.
Abuse, neglect, abandonment or exposing a child to physical and/or
emotional injuries is punishable under this law. The Law also established the
National Council for the Protection of Children, which advises the Minister on
child protection issues. The Council is responsible for the design of a
management system to report cases of children in need of protection and to
develop programs to educate the public on the prevention of child abuse and
neglect. The Law also set up Child Protection Teams to coordinate locally based
services to families and children in need of protection.
The challenge for UNICEF, in partnership with the Government, the
Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (SUHAKAM) and civil society, is to
promote awareness of the Child Act especially in the context of the broader
framework of the Convention on the Rights of the Child as well as to advocate for
its effective enforcement and application.
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THE FOUR MAIN TYPES OF ABUSE AND THEIRINDICATORS


World Health organization define child abuse as all forms of abuse

whether physical, emotional, sexual, neglect, abuse, maltreatment or exploitation


which may cause injury or damage to the health, life, development or dignity of
the child done by those who have the responsibilities, trust or authority over the
child.
Before we go further, we need to understand that sometimes, we need to
differentiate between abuse and right of the parent to discipline their child. The
parent has the right to discipline their child as long as it is done in a reasonable
manner and moderate in degree and otherwise does not constitute cruelty.
Abuse and neglect are forms of maltreatment of a child. Somebody may
abuse or neglect a child either directly by inflicting harm, or indirectly, by failing to
act to prevent harm. Children may be abused in a family or in an institutional or
community setting, by those known to them, or, more rarely, by a stranger. An
adult or adults, or another child or children may abuse them.
According to NSPCC (2010), there are four types of child abuse. They are
defined in the UK Government guidance Working Together to Safeguard Children
2010 (1.33 1.36) as follows. The first is physical abuse, the second is emotional
abuse, the third is sexual abuse, and the fourth is neglect.
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Physical abuse may involve hitting, shaking, throwing, poisoning, burning
or scalding, drowning, suffocating, or otherwise causing physical harm to a child.
Physical harm may also be caused when a parent or caregiver fabricates the
symptoms of, or deliberately induces, illness in a child.
Emotional abuse is the persistent emotional maltreatment of a child such
as to cause severe and persistent adverse effects on the childs emotional
development. It may involve conveying to children that they are worthless or
unloved, inadequate, or valued only insofar as they meet the needs of another
person. It may include not giving the child opportunities to express their views,
deliberately silencing them or making fun of what they say or how they
communicate. It may feature age or developmentally inappropriate expectations
being imposed on children.
These may include interactions that are beyond the childs developmental
capability, as well as overprotection and limitation of exploration and learning, or
preventing the child participating in normal social interaction. It may involve
seeing or hearing the ill treatment of another. It may involve serious, causing
children frequently to feel frightened or in danger, or the exploitation or corruption
of children. Some level of emotional abuse is involved in all types of
maltreatment of a child, though it may occur alone.
Sexual abuse involves forcing or enticing a child or young person to take
part in sexual activities, not necessarily involving a high level of violence, whether
or not the child is aware of what is happening. The activities may involve physical
contact, including assault by penetration, for example, rape or oral sex,or nonpenetrative acts such as masturbation, kissing, rubbing and touching outside of
clothing.

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They may also include non-contact activities, such as involving children in
looking at, or in the production of, sexual images, watching sexual activities,
encouraging children to behave in sexually inappropriate ways, or grooming a
child in preparation for abuse. Sexual abuse is not solely perpetrated by adult
males. Women can also commit acts of sexual abuse, as can other children.
Neglect is the persistent failure to meet a childs basic physical and/or
psychological needs, likely to result in the serious impairment of the childs health
or development. Neglect may occur during pregnancy as a result of maternal
substance abuse. Once a child is born, neglect may involve a parent or caregiver
failing to provide adequate food, clothing and shelter, including exclusion from
home or abandonment, protect a child from physical and emotional harm or
danger, ensure adequate supervision, including theuse of inadequate caregivers, or ensure access to appropriate medical care or treatment. It may also
include neglect of, or unresponsiveness to, a childs basic emotional needs.
3.1

Signs of abuse

3.1.1 Physical Abuse


Most children will collect cuts and bruises as part of the rough-and-tumble
of daily life. Injuries should always be interpreted in light of the childs medical
and social history, developmental stage and the explanation given. Most
accidental bruises are seen over bony parts of the body, such as elbows, knees,
shins, and are often on the front of the body. Some children, however, will have
bruising that is more than likely inflicted rather than accidental.
Important indicators of physical abuse are bruises or injuries that are
either unexplained or inconsistent with the explanation given, or visible on the
soft parts of the body where accidental injuries are unlikely, such as cheeks,
abdomen, back and buttocks. A delay in seeking medical treatment when it is

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obviously necessary is also a cause for concern, although this can be more
complicated with burns, as these are often delayed in presentation due to
blistering taking place sometime later.
3.1.2 Emotional Abuse
Emotional abuse can be difficult to measure, as there are often no
outward physical signs. There may be a developmental delay due to a failure to
thrive and grow, although this will usually only be evident if the child puts on
weight in other circumstances, for example when hospitalized or away from their
parents care. Even so, children who appear well cared for may nevertheless be
emotionally abused by being taunted, put down or belittled. They may receive
little or no love, affection or attention from their parents or caregivers. Emotional
abuse can also take the form of children not being allowed to mix or play with
other children.
3.1.3 Sexual Abuse
Adults who use children to meet their own sexual needs abuse both girls
and boys of all ages, including infants and toddlers. Usually, in cases of sexual
abuse it is the childs behavior that may cause you to become concerned,
although physical signs can also be present. In all cases, children who tell about
sexual abuse do so because they want it to stop. It is important, therefore, that
they are listened to and taken seriously.
It is also important to remember that it not just adult men who sexually
abuse children, because there are increasing numbers of allegations of sexual
abuse of children against women and sexual abuse can also be perpetrated by
other children or young people.
3.1.4 Neglect

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Neglect can be a difficult form of abuse to recognize, yet have some of the
most lasting and damaging effects on children.
The physical signs of neglect may include:

Constant hunger, sometimes stealing food from other children;


Constantly dirty or smelly;
Loss of weight, or being constantly underweight;
Inappropriate clothing for the conditions.

Changes in behavior, which can also indicate neglect, may include:

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Complaining of being tired all the time;


Not requesting medical assistance and/or failing to attend appointments;
Having few friends;
Mentioning being left alone or unsupervised.

TECHNIQUES

TO

SUPPORT

CHILDREN

IN

PROTECTING

THEMSELVES
According to KidPower (2014), young people are at risk of assault,
abduction, and abuse even in caring families, schools, and communities. Skills
and knowledge are the keys to keeping kids safe. The good news is that there
are simple and effective ways of teaching children how to protect themselves that
will work most of the time.
Parents, teachers, and other caregivers need to know that their children
are more likely to be harmed by someone they know than by a stranger. Children

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need to have clear safety rules both for strangers when they are out on their own
and for setting boundaries with people they know.
Anyone can be a child molester such as a neighbor, a relative, a family
friend, a youth group leader, a teacher, even another child. The best way to
protect your childrens personal safety is know what is happening with them.
Make the time to ask them often, Is there anything youve been wondering or
worrying about that you havent told me? and to listen to their answers with
patience and respect.
Children need to understand that there are different safety rules when they
are not in the care of their adult and when they are on their own. Children who
are only a short distance away from an adult in charge even for a few minutes
are on their own. They dont need to worry. They just need to know what to do.
Just telling children about safety or just showing children what to do is not
enough. When we just talk to children about danger, their raised awareness can
actually raise their level of anxiety. Young people learn best by actively
participating. Practicing childrens personal safety skills increases their
confidence and competence. It is important to do this in a way that is not scary,
but is fun.

According to Sherri Gordon (2014), sometimes bullies target other kids


simply because they look like an unaware or unprepared target. This is where
self-defense techniques come in.When most people think of self-defense, they
think of hitting back or using karate. But a large part of self-defense has nothing
to do with hitting or striking another person. It involves being aware of our
surroundings, listening to our gut, leaving before a problem erupts, using a
confident voice and carrying ourselves with confidence.

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Figure 4: Children learning martial arts.


Here are three ways we can teach our kids to defend themselves against
school bullies. First, use confident body language. One of the best ways to
prevent bullying is to be sure our children have a healthy self-esteem and carry
themselves with confidence. Being self-confident involves having good posture,
walking with a purpose and making eye contact with those around them.
Second, stay in a group. Bullies are less likely to target someone who is
with a group of friends. Be sure our children knows that it is best to go places in
groups, especially into bullying zones at school. Friendship is a protective factor
against bullying. Even having just one close friend can go a long way in
preventing bullying.
And third, trust our gut. Teach our kids to be aware of their surroundings.
For instance, teach them to put their cell phones away and to look around them.
Is there a group of rough-looking boys in the corner? Being aware of whats
going on around them, not only will help protect our children from bullying, but it
also is an important life skill.
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WAYS TO IMPLEMENT WORKING PRACTICES THAT SAFEGUARD


CHILDREN AND THE ADULTS WHO WORK WITH THEM
According to NPSCC (2010), parents can learn about healthy child

development and how to build strong families; listen to children and try to
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understand what they are saying and doing, and why. Taking the time to listen to
your child means they will feel better about themselves and be more likely to
come to you with problems. Know what goes on in your childrens school and
how it responds to issues on child abuse and bullying.
According to the Department of Children, Schools and Families (2009),
there are occasions when it is entirely appropriate and proper for staff to have
physical contact with pupils, but it is crucial that they only do so in ways
appropriate to their professional role. A 'no touch' approach is impractical for
most staff and will in some circumstances be inappropriate. When physical
contact is made with pupils this should be in response to their needs at the time,
of limited duration and appropriate to their age, stage of development, gender,
ethnicity and background. Appropriate physical contact in schools will occur most
often with younger pupils.
All pupils have a right to be treated with respect and dignity even in those
circumstances where they display difficult or challenging behavior. Adults should
not use any form of degrading treatment to punish a child. The use of sarcasm,
demeaning or insensitive comments towards pupils is not acceptable in any
situation. Any sanctions or rewards used should be part of a behavior
management policy which is widely publicized and regularly reviewed.
Finally, there may be occasions when a distressed child needs comfort
and reassurance and this may involve physical contact. Young children, in
particular, may need immediate physical comfort, for example after a fall,
separation from parent etc. Adults should use their professional judgment to
comfort or reassure a child in an age-appropriate way whilst maintaining clear
professional boundaries. Where an adult has a particular concern about the need
to provide this type of care and reassurance, or is concerned that an action may

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be misinterpreted, this should be reported and discussed with a senior manager
and parents or caregivers.

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CONCLUSION
Despite significant strides made by the government in improving child

protection measures, in recent year, the cases of child abuse keep increasing.
The laws and procedures alone cannot solve the problem. It is only one of the
methods of providing solution to the problem. More efforts have to be taken to
make the society aware that child abuse is a crime and can causes a country the
loss of the loss of human potential.
According to AfridahAbas (2012), the Department of Social Welfare under
the Ministry of Women, Family and Community Development and NGOs have
carried out awareness campaigns periodically in mass-media and a nationwide
campaign through posters and billboards as the main source of medium. As for
the protection of the victim, they also provide shelter for the victim.
Community based project should also be developed which involve the
society at large to create awareness that child abuse is a crime. They should be
made well aware of the current situation, the law concerning the issues and
measures taken by the government and government agencies.

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REFERENCES
1.

AfridahbintiAbas; 2012; Child Abuse in Malaysia: Legal Measures for


the Prevention of the Crime and Protection of the Victim; International

2.

Journal of Social Sciences and Humanity Studies.


Sherri Gordon; 2014; 9 Ways Kids Can Defend Themselves Against

3.

Bullies; http://www.about.com
Child Act 2001 Act 611; 2006; Laws of Malaysia; The Commissioner of

4.

Law Revision Malaysia.


The National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children
(NSPCC) Inform; 2010; Child protection fact sheet: The definitions and

5.
6.

signs of child abuse; NPSCC.


Adults Surviving Child Abuse; 2014; http://www.asca.org.au
Irene van der Zande; 2014; Teaching Kids to be Safe Without Making

7.

Them Scared; http://www.kidpower.org


SafeNetwork; 2011; What is safeguarding and why does it matter to my

8.

organization?; http://www.safenetwork.org.uk
Department of Children, Schools and Families; 2009; Guidance for
Safer Working Practice for Adults who work with Children and Young
People in Education Settings; a DCSF network of Advisors.

(Number of words: 3,060)

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