Police have arrested a woman suspected of physically abusing a girl with Down Syndrome while under her care at a charity home.
The unnamed 28-year-old caregiver was arrested yesterday after the police were alerted to the alleged abuse towards the 13-year-old girl on June 24. The victim, who suffered burn injuries and bruises throughout most of her body including her arm, chest, and her back, was one of three children with Down Syndrome who had been living with the suspect at the condominium apartment in Wangsa Maju in Kuala Lumpur since last July.
“The victim has lived in that unit since July 14, 2020. Examination on the victim found burn marks on her chest, arms, neck, thighs among other bruises,” Kuala Lumpur Criminal Investigation Department Chief Saiful Annuar Yusoff said yesterday.
The girl was taken to the Kuala Lumpur Hospital, where she also tested positive for COVID-19, Saiful Annuar said.
Shocking photos of the victim’s scars were widely shared on social media yesterday, with a few of them censored by Facebook.
Seven children including the victim had been living in the charity home, according to him. The rest did not have visible injuries but all of them tested positive for COVID-19, he said. The two other children with Down Syndrome were only two years old, he added.
“The police will continue with the investigation after all witnesses (children) have completed their quarantine as determined by the Health Ministry,” he said.
The caregiver was being investigated for abuse, neglect, abandonment, or exposing the child in a manner likely to cause him/her physical or emotional injury. If found guilty, she could be fined up to RM50,000 (about US$16,000) and jailed for up to 20 years.
The national news agency reported that the girl was under the care of Taman Sinar Harapan Tuanku Ampuan Najihah since 2011 before being handed over to a welfare home owned by an NGO as an adopted child last year.