Saturday, April 19, 2014

Indonesia: Six-Year-Old Boy Raped in Prestigeous Jakarta International School

According to The Sydney Morning Herald, the rape of a six-year old boy in a toilet at the prestigious Jakarta International School has shocked the expatriate community and prompted a discussion in Indonesia about the prevalence of child sex abuse.

The boy has contracted herpes and a bacterial infection as a result of two anal rapes by members of the school’s outsourced cleaning staff in February and March 2014.

The two assailants, both employees of the international contract cleaners ISS, are in police custody. They are alleged to have attacked the boy during school hours when he went to the toilet near his classroom. Jakarta police say two more men and one woman are also under investigation. 

The boy is the son of a Dutch father and an Indonesian mother. He attended the school's early childhood program. The boy's mother went public with graphic details on Monday (April 14), motivated, according to lawyer Andi Asrun, by disappointment that the school had not acted more expeditiously to address the threat. 

Officials have said his teachers should have been aware of the youngster's long absences and should have noticed that he was upset when he returned to class.

Andi said during one of the attacks, the boy had been locked inside one of a number of janitors’ closets inside the toilet, so that he “couldn’t be heard screaming."

“If the kindergarten student goes to the toilet, the teacher should accompany the student, or at least observe from outside,” Mr Andi said. 

COMMENT: Since his client has gone public, another mother has come forward to say her young son had told of being attacked in the toilet by men in blue uniforms but that the boy had fought them off.

Headmaster Tim Carr said the school was cooperating fully with authorities and had made changes to security, including the placement of CCTV surveillance cameras, after it was informed of the attacks. It has also offered support and advice to parents.

Police have urged parents of other students at the school to check the behavior of their children and report anything suspicious.

The family's attorney said that apart from providing information to the police for a criminal case, the family would pursue civil proceedings against the school and the Indonesian education minister.

The family will also seek a court order to close the early childhood program for “failing to protect the children”, and also for not having a proper license to operate a kindergarten. Police have given the school one week to apply for the correct license. 

Indonesian officials including the Commission for Protection of Children have been called in and President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono and his wife, Ani, were quoted on Thursday (April 17) as offering their support to the family.

The boy's Dutch father told Fairfax Media that, as a result of the publicity, he had been contacted by people from all over Indonesia telling them about their own children’s abuse. 

The Jakarta Education Agency has sent a circular to all local schools advising them to improve security and alert teachers to be aware of suspicious behavior by both staff and students.

In a letter to parents, the school said it had reduced access to the campus for outsourced staff and had enhanced security and enforcement. The ISS cleaning staff no longer work at the school.

The letter, signed by Carr, said outsourced staff would also be required to comply with the same medical tests as employed staff. The school has implemented a child protection program across the school and would set up an independent review of the incident.

The author of THE SYDNEY MORNING HERALD piece has two children attending the Jakarta International School.