Archipelago

Police, govt urged to act
in Aceh child abuse cases

Female activists in Aceh, affiliated with the 231 Monitoring Network, have urged the government and police to investigate child abuse cases in the province.

Indecisiveness on the part of the government and law enforcers is deemed to have contributed to the rising incidence of sexual abuse cases, due to the lack of a deterrent effect.

“This is reflected in the number of sexual abuse cases involving children in Aceh between 2012 and 2014, which increased,” said 231 Monitoring Network coordinator Destika Gilang on Thursday.

According to Destika, many rape and murder cases against children in Aceh have yet to be completely resolved by law enforcement agencies.

The network cited the rape of 9-year-old girl; a 6-year-old girl by six people in Bener Meriah, Central Aceh; and the rape of a daughter by her step father in Banda Aceh.

“Indecisiveness on the part of the government and law enforcers has a big impact on the suffering of victims and their families,” said Destika.

The activists urged the police across the province to respond quickly to sexual abuse cases involving children.

They also urged prosecutor’s offices and courts to hand down stiff sentences and intensify the prosecutions of those committing sexual abuse against children.

“The Aceh provincial administration must also play an active role in implementing child and women protection policies, as stipulated in Qanun [Islamic bylaw] No. 6/2009 on child and women protection,” said Destika.

The latest incidence of child abuse was allegedly committed by an officer of the Aceh Police headquarters, known as Brig. M, against two elementary school students aged 7 and 8.

The allegation came to light after the students’ parents reported the matter to authorities on April 14.

The police, however, reportedly attempted to cover up the case, but following pressure from various parties, they finally revealed some details, including the identity of the suspected perpetrator, who is in active service.

It was initially suspected that Brig. M had sexually abused five children, but only two reports have been filed with the police.

If Brig. M is proven guilty, he will be charged with violating Law No. 23/2002 on child protection and could face 15 years’ imprisonment.

Activists from the 231 Monitoring Network also handed the police data on child sexual abuse cases taking place in Aceh in the past few years.

Based on observations by the network, 27 and 70 child sexual abuse cases were recorded in 2012 and 2013, respectively.

A majority of the cases involved adults who were close to the victims, such as step fathers, uncles, teachers and neighbors.

In response to the demands made by the activists, Banda Aceh City Police chief Sr. Comr. Moffan said his force would work even harder to investigate and resolve the cases.

Moffan also called on members of the community to be more proactive in overseeing their families to prevent the crime.

Citizens are expected to immediate report to the police if they suspect sexual abuse and rape has
occurred.

“There’s no exception with law enforcers, including the police. Report it to us so we can react fast to help victims,” said Moffan.

Activists in North Sumatra have urged a thorough investigation into the alleged molestation of an 18-month-old girl by her father, who is a member of the Air Force’s National Air Defense Command in Medan.

The Indonesian Child Protection Commission (KPAI) North Sumatra branch has urged the Air Force’s internal affairs division to seriously investigate the case.

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