Verbal Abuse on Children: Does It Amount to Child Abuse under the Malaysian Law?

  •  Che Hasniza Che Noh    
  •  Wan Izatul Asma Wan Talaat    


Children form an essential component of a society. The role of children has been acknowledged key to the survival, development as well as prosperity of that society. A child’s development stage is the most crucial and warrants serious attention from parents and teachers in order to assure their growth into mature adults, who are able to contribute to the society. One of the factors that may hamper their growth is child abuse. There are basically five main forms of child abuse known to take place in Malaysia namely physical abuse, sexual abuse, emotional abuse, neglect as well as abandonment. These forms of abuse have been given legal attention and recognition except emotional or psychological abuse. One common type of emotional abuse is verbal abuse, which is a form of abusive behavior involving the use of language. Alternatively known as reviling, it is a pattern of behavior that can seriously interfere with one’s positive emotional development and over time, it can lead to significant detriment to one’s self-esteem, emotional well-being and physical state. Although verbal abuse does not leave any outer mark or proof, a verbally abused victim usually suffers by having lower self-worth and low self-esteem. A child, who suffers verbal abuse may grow up to become a low self-esteem adult. Thus, verbal abuse may be considered as grave and must be given serious attention. Laws are the reflection of the attitude of a particular society. Since the function of law is mainly to maintain societal peace and order, it is through law that we can infer how society regards a particular issue, in this regard, verbal abuse on children. This paper aims to highlight firstly, on verbal abuse as another significant form of child abuse needing to be given serious consideration by the society and secondly, on the parameters of child abuse under the Malaysian Child Act 2001; and finally concludes with whether the provisions under the Malaysian Child Act 2001 are sufficient to protect children from verbal abuse.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.