“Victims of incest should also prosecute perpetrators using civil law”
FOR the trauma they had to endure, incest victims should also sue their perpetrators in civil justice.
Outgoing Malaysian Bar President Salim Bashir encourages victims to bring civil liability actions (a tort that causes a plaintiff to suffer loss or damage) against its perpetrators.
“This will allow them to seek compensatory damages for the emotional and physical injuries
including the costs of psychological treatment, medical costs and lost wages, ”he said.
While criminal laws can have crucial deterrent effects, they do not adequately compensate victims for the enormous psychological injuries they suffer, adds Salim.
“Child victims of incest often suffer from a myriad of psychological disorders that prevent them from seeking legal redress for past traumatic experiences until they reach adulthood.
“As such, the time limits for bringing civil proceedings should be extended and made exclusive to sexual victims taking into account psychological reactions and the disregard of children’s rights under the law,” he said. he.
Salim, a criminal lawyer, says there are cases where victims or their family members withdraw their complaints against the accused, but that does not mean that the court charges will be withdrawn.
“The prosecution has discretion under the law to decide whether to prosecute the prosecution.
“But the stumbling block that awaits prosecution will be the risk of victims not cooperating in testifying against the accused in court,” he said.
Currently, under article 376B of the Penal Code, those who commit incest are punishable by imprisonment of 10 to 30 years and are liable to flogging.
But Salim believes that a harsher sentence alone cannot deter incest, and the punishment for the crime under the Penal Code is sufficient.
“The offender must be guided to turn a new leaf by instilling
re-education in prison.
“There must be programs after the convict is released from prison, such as follow-up counseling and religious teachings while giving them opportunities to change in our society.
“Prolonged detention and incarceration of society will not help to change and improve a person,” he adds.
For the victim, Salim acknowledges that it can be nerve-racking to testify in court, and even more so for incest victims who have to testify against the abuser.
“Malaysian courts have taken positive steps to alleviate the concerns of child victims by introducing special courts with guided protocols when child victims testify.
“The prosecution can request that the victims be out of sight of the accused or request closed proceedings (private proceedings) to minimize the trauma of the victim during the narration of the crime,” he explains. -he.
Selangor Bar Chairman Kokila Vaani Vadiveloo said many victims may have chosen to withdraw their report due to social stigma, but ultimately it is still up to the prosecution to decide whether they wish to pursue the matter.
“The dynamics of such cases are usually one where the victims are young children who are either threatened or manipulated into silence, while parents may not be trained to recognize the signs of child sexual abuse,” she says.
With incest increasingly recognized as a sensitive issue in Malaysia, Kokila hopes more investigating officers, lawyers and judges will better understand how to deal with incest cases.
“Given the nature of these cases, it is essential that the pool of judicial officers receive the necessary training to be equipped to hear such cases.
“Given the gravity of the crime, the courts have been determined to hand down dissuasive sentences against offenders,” she said, citing the recent case of a man sentenced to 1,050 years and 24 cane strokes for incest by the Klang Sessions Short.
Kokila adds that the court can also issue community service orders, advice, compensation orders, police surveillance and allow perpetrators to be subject to obligations of good behavior.
“Fear of discrimination prevented victims from seeking help.
“Adult victims of incest may not relate the issues they are currently experiencing to their history of violence, making self-disclosure unlikely.
“Efforts to promote disclosure must be favorable and appropriate to the age of the victim and the context in which the society in which they live,” she insists.