It is never easy entrusting your child with someone you barely know. But it is often an inescapable part of life after separation. Even though you try your best to make life easier for kids after your marriage ends, sadly the worst can happen. Like the case of mum of four Nurul Dahlia, 35, whose youngest daughter was mistreated by an abusive Malaysian stepmother.
Reports say the stepmother forced the 7-year-old girl to drink boiling water, severely burning her lips, on 5 February.
Her mum Nurul came to pick her up four days later and was shocked to find out how her daughter was maltreated by someone who was supposed to care for her.
The 7-year-old's mum filed a police report against the abusive Malaysian stepmother
The mum of four was shocked at how cruel her ex-husband's new wife truly was. | Screenshot: NST news clip
"I went to pick her up for her to spend the weekend at my place. I noticed that her lips were badly burnt. When I asked her what happened, she told me that her stepmother had forced her to drink hot boiling water on Monday," Nurul recounts to the New Straits Times.
The worried mum first rushed her daughter to a nearby hospital in Kuala Lumpur, after which she filed a police report, detailing the horrific incident.
This is not the first time the abusive Malaysian stepmother maltreated one of her stepchildren
After separating from her her husband in 2011, Nurul lost custody of her four daughters – now aged 14, 13, 8 and 7 – due to financial problems. Five years later, the father of her kids remarried.
Since then, the mum laments she was not allowed to visit her daughters. To this day, he has not answered any of her calls or texts.
Nurul rushed her youngest to the nearest hospital in Kuala Lumpur as soon as she found out what happened. | Screenshot: NST news clip
According to the mum, her 13-year-old also previously complained about the stepmum. The teen claimed she was beaten, but no injuries were found, so they let it slide.
This latest incident surely confirmed her suspicions that the stepmum was not treating her daughters well.
"I'm still shocked with what happened. Only now I realise why the third and the youngest children always refuse and cry when it's time to go back to their father's house," she confides in NST.
Nurul, who is described by various news outlets as being a religious schoolteacher, found the cruelty unbelievable. The mum worries that the abusive Malaysian stepmother is suffering from mental issues.
Local authorities have yet to comment on the incident.
We hope this case gets sorted out so that Nurul's four girls can grow up free from terror and abuse.
Abusive stepparents in Singapore
The Ministry of Social and Family Development (MSF) reports that out of all the child abuse cases they investigate, 40% involve children under seven years old.
More worrying still is the spike in child abuse cases since 2014.
Because of this, they urge educators and parents alike to be more aware of the signs of child abuse to help stop it before it's too late.
Just recently, a 29-year-old stepdad was jailed for six months for child abuse.
Reports say the man slapped his toddler stepson across the face for simply crying at night. The incident, which happened in June 2017, left red bruises on the child's face and neck.
Child abuse red flags to watch out for!
- The child is unusually scared or uneasy around particular adults.
- The child throws fits or tantrums when he is made to go with a parent, caregiver, or teacher.
- An abused child tends to show sudden behavioural changes — being aloof or clingy — both at home or in school.
- They might also show changes in their sleeping or eating habits.
- Abused kids can have difficulty socialising.
- Of course, they have unexplained injuries, such as bruises, abrasions, cuts, or other marks.
Do you suspect a child is being abused? Here's how to help
Be sure to have gathered details and evidence before approaching authorities. Though a 'hunch' is often all we need to keep us up at night, police need sufficient proof to pursue a case.
Jot down the suspected nature of abuse as well as specific instances. If you can document the child's injuries, it would strengthen your case.
But most importantly, act quickly so the child being abused doesn't have to suffer more. We have to work together as a community to protect the welfare of every child, regardless if they are related to us by blood.
Here's where to report suspected cases of child abuse:
- Child Protective Service Helpline: 1800 777 0000
- Child Protection Specialist Centres:
[email protected] Yue
Big Love Child Protection Specialist Centre
Monday-Friday, 9.00am-1.00pm; 2.00pm-6.00pm
Sources: New Straits Times, Utusan Malaysia, Straits Times
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