Community leaders and tribal chiefs have been involved in the Women's Anti-Crime Squad (Skuad Waja) to further raise public awareness about violence against women.
According to the Minister of Women, Family, and Community Development Datuk Seri Nancy Shukri, the involvement of grassroots leaders will empower this squad, which also includes non-governmental organisations (NGOs).
"When more individuals are empowered, it heightens awareness, particularly among the perpetrators, who may experience withdrawal symptoms and refrain from committing crimes against women," she added.
Speaking to reporters after inaugurating the Sarawak Semarak Skuad Waja 2023 programme today, she said community leaders and tribal chiefs are often consulted in family disputes that require them to be equipped with knowledge about violence against women.
"It is crucial for us to offer guidance to community leaders, enabling them to refer cases of crimes against women. We are developing a directory that includes contact numbers for specific cases within their jurisdiction," she added.
According to police statistics, Nancy said a total of 5,260 cases of domestic violence were reported in 2020, which rose to 7,468 cases the following year. As of August this year, a total of 3,640 cases have already been recorded.
Between 2020 and last month, Sarawak recorded the third-highest number of domestic violence cases after Selangor and Kedah, with a total of 2,192 cases reported. However, she said that these figures might not accurately represent the actual situation.
"Sarawak is a huge state, but not densely populated. In terms of accessibility to report, it's quite limited. So perhaps that (the numbers) doesn't reflect the actual data," she said adding that it is because of this factor that her ministry wants to involve grassroots leaders in addressing domestic violence, especially in their respective areas.
"I insist that community leaders store this information so that they can help. People will continue to approach them, and they can guide them according to their standard operating procedures (SOP). After that, they can bring the case to the relevant authorities, especially the police," she added.
Source: BERNAMA News Agency