Law Governing Physical Child Abuse in Malaysia

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According to Longman, Dictionary of Contemporary English (2003), physical child abuse can be defined as an adult’s physical act of aggression directed at a child that causes injury or even death. Even if the adult did not intend to injure the child, it also can be classified under physical child abuse. The acts of aggression include striking a child with the hand, fist, or foot or with an object; burning the child with a hot object; shaking, pushing, or throwing a child; pinching or biting the child; and pulling the child by their hair. Sometimes, this term is misleading with corporal punishment. Corporal punishment is a use of physical force with the intent of inflicting bodily pain, but not injury. So there is a big difference between these two terms. According to Dr. Irene Cheah, head of the Kuala Lumpur Hospital (HKL) Pediatric Unit, physical child abuse is caused by; firstly, a person’s inability to control their anger or frustration. This loss of control is usually caused by factors that have nothing to do with the child, such as job or personal stresses, loneliness, depression, lack of support system, psychiatric disorders, or substance abuse. Secondly, a child that is difficult to control because of a behavioral disorder or physical disability. This is because the parents are not equipped to handle this type of child. The third cause would be a person with alcohol abuse or drug addiction. This type of person usually abusing their child when they are under alcohol or drug’s influence.

The Malaysian Government has demonstrated a commitment to children's rights and welfare. In October 2000, the Parliament implemented Child Act 2001. The Act deals with children under the age of eighteen who are in need of care, protection or rehabilitation. Under section 17(1)(a) of the Child Act 2001, a child is defined as in need of care and protection if, "the child has been or if there is substantial...