8-year-old sex suspect reported to watchdog

PUBLISHED : Friday, 20 December, 2002, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 20 December, 2002, 12:00am

A suspected eight-year-old sex abuser and six victims aged under three have been reported to a child-abuse watchdog.

Director of Against Child Abuse Priscilla Liu Tsang Sun-kai said she was alarmed by the young age of the alleged offender, adding that nine other children aged under 12 - including three girls - were reported as suspected abusers.

Three doctors and a policeman were also among the subjects of complaints received by the group between 1999 and last year. In total, 363 sexual abuse complaints were received via a hotline in that period, involving 402 victims and 409 suspected abusers. Eleven suspects were aged between 12 and 14. Forty per cent or 148 cases were under investigation by social workers or police, the group said.

Mrs Liu said the young abusers were involved in inappropriate sexual behaviour or sex play.

'Those young abusers did it out of curiosity or they simply imitated the actors in movies,' she said. 'So it would be extremely important for both teachers and families to provide appropriate sex education for their children.'

The findings show 62.1 per cent of suspected abusers were acquainted with the victims.

The complaints were referred to Against Child Abuse by parents, teachers, medical professionals and the victims themselves.

The organisation's three-year special child sexual abuse prevention and treatment project ended last December due to lack of funding. The $3 million project was sponsored by the Keswick Foundation.

The programme provides counselling and other services.

'We are now appealing for funding for the programme to continue before more tragedies happen,' the director added.