Focus on curbing child sex abuse too

The Penal Code Review Committee has proposed some welcome changes to protect minors, among them outlawing the making and possession of child abuse material (Protecting minors aged 16 to 18 from sexual exploitation; Sept 10).

While arresting and punishing offenders is one way to stop crimes, there should also be a focus on preventing crimes from being committed in the first place.

In Britain, there is a campaign called Stop It Now that has a helpline to stop potential offenders and offenders from looking at child sexual abuse images online.

In Germany, an initiative called Prevention Project Dunkelfeld treats people who have a sexual interest in children to prevent them from offending.

In tandem with the new proposed laws, the Government should help organisations like the Institute of Mental Health form similar initiatives to help people with troubling sexual thoughts or online behaviours stop before it is too late.

Liu Shuyan (Ms)

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 12, 2018, with the headline 'Focus on curbing child sex abuse too'. Print Edition | Subscribe