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Rise in rape cases involving underage girls, mostly due to grooming: Police
Published on: Wednesday, April 10, 2024
By: Bernama
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Rise in rape cases involving underage girls, mostly due to grooming: Police
For illustrative purposes only. - Getty Images
KUALA LUMPUR: Rape cases involving underage girls have increased in the last three years and police believe most of them began with grooming via social media, including chat applications like WhatsApp.

Bukit Aman's Sexual, Women and Child Investigation Division (D11) principal assistant director SAC Siti Kamsiah Hassan said most of the victims told police that they got to know the perpetrators through social media.

“The majority of underage girls who became victims of rape told investigating officers that they knew the perpetrators through social media like online chat forums first before meeting them in person.

“This shows that these girls have undergone the grooming phase with greetings of ‘hai’ and other words of praise, which leads to the sending of nude photos by the girls. This is followed by the meeting phase which results in these girls being raped, including by gangs,” she told Bernama.

Police statistics show that 1,299 rape cases involving underage girls were reported in 2021, which increased to 1,388 in 2022 and 1,590 in 2023.

Gang rapes involving underage girls were also on the rising trend with 61 cases reported in 2021, compared to 103 cases in 2022 and 104 in 2023.

Siti Kamsiah said apart from serving as a grooming platform, social media are also used by paedophiles to spread child sexual abuse material to other individuals with the same sexual orientation.

“They share their experiences of deceiving children and the fun of exploiting them,” she said.

Siti Kamsiah said the role of parents is crucial in tackling the grooming issue.

"Instil in children the need to set boundaries when socialising in the cyber world. Remind them to not freely share matters or indulge in acts prohibited by their customs, cultures and religions,” she added.

She advised parents to monitor the activities of their children, especially in the use of telecommunication gadgets and equipment.

“Most importantly, parents should inculcate strong values in their children so that they will shy away from any activities that are against moral and religious norms,” she said.

At the same time, parents should increase the self-awareness of their children to prevent them from being exploited by paedophiles using sophisticated communication equipment.

“They (children) need to understand what amounts to a threat to their well-being and how to protect themselves,” she said.

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