There's nothing quite as devastating as news of a parent taking the life of their own child. But sadly this happens all around the world. The latest case happened just last week. On Wednesday, 21 February, a Malaysian father charged with the alleged murder of his one-month-old newborn daughter, was arrested.
Muhamad Firdaus Saidon, 22, did not deny the charges nor plead his innocence, according to a Channel News Asia report.
Police also arrested the baby girl's mum, aged 22, but she was released on police bond. She will reportedly be appearing as a witness during the upcoming trial on 19 April of this year.
The Malaysian father charged reportedly violated Section 302 of Malaysia's Penal code, with a possible death sentence if he is convicted.
Malaysian father charged with murder had reportedly been abusing newborn
The newborn baby girl, Nurul Ain Umairah Muhammad, who was born on 30 December, died a week before her father's arrest. Reports say that the newborn succumbed to severe injuries on the way to the hospital, suffering a fatal brain haemorrhage.
Aside from her shocking injuries, reports say the 46-day old baby had bites all over her arms and bruises all over her body. What's even more heartbreaking is that further investigation showed signs of prolonged abuse. Her ribs, right arm and left hip all showed signs of recent fracture.
Authorities believe her father, who works as a lorry driver, used blunt objects to inflict the injuries. But the case is still under investigation.
Signs of child abuse to watch out for
When it comes to suspected cases of child abuse, we often hope our fears aren't proven right. But sadly, this is not always the case. So it pays to be extra vigilant.
An abused child typically shows the following signs:
- The child is unusually skittish or afraid of particular adults.
- The child throws tantrums or puts up a fight when he is taken away by a certain parent of caregiver.
- A child who is being abused often exhibits sudden behavioural changes — being aloof or clingy — both at home or in school.
- An abused child might also show changes in their sleeping or eating habits. They may also have difficulty socialising.
- The abused child often has unexplained injuries, such as bruises, abrasions, cuts, or other marks.
Where to report child abuse in Singapore
In Singapore, 873 child abuse cases were investigated by the Ministry of Social and Family Development (MSF) in 2016. This figure is especially alarming once you consider that there were only 551 cases in 2015.
"The family is meant to protect their children and it is troubling that they are hurting them," Mr Alfred Tan, chief executive of the Singapore Children's Society, told the Straits Times, emphasising that child abuse is more than just a family matter. It is society's responsibility to protect those who can't protect themselves.
If you suspect a relative or neighbour is abusing a child, first gather all needed data — and proof, if possible — before reporting them to the authorities.
Here are some hotlines you can contact to report cases of child abuse in Singapore:
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: Channel News Asia, New Straits Times, Straits Times
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