KUALA LUMPUR - In a surprising finding, the highest number of child abusers turn out to be the hand that rocks the cradle the victim's mother.
Deputy Women, Family and Community Development Minister Datuk Heng Seai Kie said statistics from the past three years had revealed that most child abusers were parents themselves and in particular, mothers.
"Mothers make up 25.4 per cent of perpetrators in child abuse cases while 18.9 per cent are fathers.
"Together, parents comprise 44.3 per cent of child abusers in incidents recorded nationwide last year," she said in her speech at the third national conference of the Association of Registered Child Care Providers Malaysia here yesterday.
Heng said the third largest number of child abusers at 11 per cent of the total number of cases were the lovers of teenage victims.
Children are defined by the ministry as those aged below 18.
Parents should learn to strike a balance between work and parental responsibilities, she said.
Heng also revealed that child abuse statistics from Selangor and Kuala Lumpur were constantly above 50 per cent of the total number of cases in the country.
On another matter, she said the ministry hoped to increase the percentage of children enrolled in child care centres from the current 4 per cent to 25 per cent by 2020.
"This is in line with the Government's policy of encouraging the participation of women in the workforce.
"One of our objectives is to increase the number of women from the current 41 per cent to at least 55 per cent of the total workforce by 2015," said Heng, adding that a major challenge facing women who wanted a career was their responsibility towards their children.
She added that to set up more child care centres, the Government had offered incentives to corporate bodies and government agencies to establish such facilities at the workplace.
Heng said a RM200,000 (S$81,000) incentive was given to government agencies while private companies were offered a tax deduction of 10 per cent from their annual income for 10 years by the Finance Ministry to set up child care centres.
Early Child Care and Education Council assistant treasurer Shamsinah Shariff said it would encourage housing developers to set aside land to build child care centres and kindergartens at residential areas.