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Teen rape in lock-up, SWWS calls for serious review of SOPs in police lock-up

Sarawak Women for Women Society, Press Release - 22 January 2021

Sarawak Women for Women Society (SWWS) refers to the very recent case of a 16 year-old girl who was allegedly raped by a male detainee in the lock-up at a police station in Miri, Sarawak.

It is appalling that a 16 year-old girl could be raped by a male detainee while being detained in a police station. Under the Child Act 2001, anybody below the age of 18 years old should be separated from adults while being detained in a police station.

Further to add salt in the wounds, the CCTV footage at the said Miri police lock-up where the 16 year-old girl was alleged to be raped was found to be unavailable with a CCTV camera installed but without a recording function.

Children while being detained should not only be separated from adults and placed in a safe facility, they should also be assigned to a police woman especially when a female minor is being questioned. Police stations should supposedly be safe places but unfortunately not so in this case.

Hence, SWWS calls for a serious review of the standard operating procedures (SOP) of lock-up by the police force and that they should be well-versed with the law provided especially when it involves children. The police station and personnel should also be provided with better facilities such as functioning CCTV as well as a separate facilities for young detainees and different sexes.

Further, SWWS notes that as Malaysia is a state party to the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC), the government should take the necessary action to ensure children’s rights are upheld in all circumstances.