KUALA LUMPUR (March 8): The Unity Government has approved the principle to amend three Acts related to sexual offences against children to ensure justice for child victims and witnesses.
Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department (Law and Institutional Reform) Datuk Seri Azalina Othman Said said the laws involved Sexual Offences Against Children Act 2017 (Act 792), Evidence of Child Witness Act 2007 (Act 676), and the Evidence Act 1950 (Act 56), were approved on Feb 24.
She added that the amendments are to be carried out in two phases, with the first phase comprising three proposed amendments to be implemented in this session, while the second phase will be implemented in the next Parliament session.
“The proposed amendments include the introduction of additional child-friendly measures to protect child victims, the creation of new offences and the granting of compensation to child victims,” she said during her winding-up speech on the Budget 2023 today.
Azalina explained that the proposed reform is intended to prevent child victims or witnesses from having to go through a lengthy, repetitive judicial process and a child-unfriendly justice system, thereby suffering long-term trauma.
In addition, Azalina said the Legal Affairs Division of the Prime Minister’s Department is also conducting a study to enact the Public Defenders Bill to offer services for assistance in cases holistically.
She said it is aimed at giving everyone the opportunity to access justice, especially those who are unable to do so.
The National Legal Aid Foundation (YBGK) had provided criminal legal aid services to 657,057 individuals from 2020 to 2022. – Bernama