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KUCHING, April 18: Sarawak has became the second state in the country to have a special Criminal Court on Sexual Crimes Against Children.
The first one was set up on June 22 last year, in Putrajaya.
Women, Family and Community Development Minister Datuk Seri Rohani Abdul Karim said this special court is the instrument of the new Sexual Offences Against Children Act 2017 (Act 792).
“With this special court, it will hasten sexual cases against children in more efficient manner and conducive environment. As you can see, this court is truly special. There is also a separate room for the child or victim to give evidence, separated from the main court room where the accused is.
“The friendlier environment and atmosphere in this special room will help victims in dealing with the proceedings. This is to ensure that the victims are comfortable and feel safe when they are about to testify in courts against their sex offenders,” Rohani said at the launch here today.
The court will be presided over by Sessions court judges and prosecutors who are experts in child sexual crimes.
Video-conferencing, court recording and transcription, and audio visual system facilities will be used and only the judges will have access to the victims in the room.
With the special court, Rohani said the target in Sarawak was for cases of sexual crimes against children to be completed within six months after being filed in court.
“This is very important for the welfare of child victims while ensuring that perpetrators will be brought to justice,” she added.
According to statistics, Sarawak recorded a total of 108 cases in 2017 and 243 cases in 2017.
For 2018, as at April 16, 119 cases of sexual crime against children were recorded in the state, with 43 cases solved and disposed, while 76 cases are on going.
Meanwhile, Rohani said the proposal to expand the Criminal Court on Sexual Crimes Against Children to other states is also ongoing.
“This is due to the fact that many cases registered in the first special court in Putrajaya were resolved quickly,” she said. — DayakDaily