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Certain kids ‘especially vulnerable to sex attacks’

Jun 07. 2018
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By The Nation

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CHILDREN with intellectual disabilities are at greater risk of sexual assault than their peers, hence parents, guardians and teachers should help them learn social skills that include how to deal with touching or inappropriate actions by others, Mental Health Department officials said on Thursday.

Their comments came after reports that a 40-year-old Samut Sakhon native is being sought by the authorities for allegedly assaulting and raping his 11-year-old autistic stepdaughter. The stepdaughter was rushed by a taxi driver on Tuesday night to a Samut Sakhon hospital in an unconscious and bleeding state. 

A police source Thursday said the man had been arrested in Phetchaburi and sent to face prosecution in Samut Sakhon.

About 11,000 youths had sought treatment after sexual attacks in 2015, revealed department director-general Dr Boonreung Traireungworarat, citing a Public Health Ministry report based on data from 523 hospitals. He said most cases involved girls being raped, with nine out of 10 committed by people close to the victims. Children with intellectual disabilities were at increased risk of sexual assault or molestation because, while their physical growth from age nine to 15 is the same as others, they are behind in terms of their ability to take care of themselves, interact with others and deal with uncomfortable or difficult situations, he said.

“Most worrying are kids with autism, because some may have an inappropriate approach to others,” he said, adding he has sent a Mental Health Crisis Assessment and Treatment Team to help the 11-year-old and her family.

Samut Prakan’s Yuwaprasart Waithayopathum Child and Adolescent Psychiatric Hospital director Dr Noppawan Sriwongpanich urged parents and teachers to take close care of kids with intellectual disabilities. They need to learn how to interact with others, keeping a distance for self-protection such as knowing to refuse inappropriate advances from others, including letting others touch their private parts or themselves touching other people’s private parts.

The 11-year-old girl was lured by her stepfather from her grandmother’s care in Ang Thong on Monday to visit her ailing mother at a hospital. He later allegedly took her to be raped at an abandoned townhouse in Samut Sakhon, 300 metres away from where he hailed the taxi for the girl, according to police. 

The girl’s mother, who was being treated for severe kidney disease at Pho Thong Hospital, was reportedly being treated for shock. A psychiatrist will treat the mother, who does not wish to speak to media, said hospital director Prasart Limdul on Thursday.

The girl’s class teacher said the youngster had a cheerful personality and had told her on Monday that she would visit her mother at a hospital before the stepfather picked her up that afternoon. The teacher said a classmate of the victim told her that the stepfather had previously molested the girl.

Police sought the suspect at his parents’ home in Samut Sakhon. The suspect’s father reportedly told police that the son returned home to change clothes after the attack and was in an agitated state before leaving the house shortly afterwards.

“He always looks tired and agitated because he is a drug abuser. On the accusation that he raped his own stepdaughter, I believe that he did it,” the father said. “If police can locate him, just arrest him and send him to jail.”

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