Police arrested a man, identified as SF, 57, on Jan 23 in Cianjur, West Java, for allegedly kidnapping his teenage neighbour four years ago. The girl, who is now 15 years old and pregnant, was returned to her parents.
The girl was 11 when she was reported missing by her parents on Feb 26, 2016, and was in advanced pregnancy when she was found by the police.
Cianjur Integrated Care Centre for the Empowerment of Women and Children operations head Lidya Indayani Umar told The Jakarta Post that the victim was reintroduced to her parents but is currently being sheltered in the agency’s rehabilitation centre for trauma healing and childbirth preparation.
“Her parents are staying in the village, while she’s with us until the childbirth is done. We feared that there would be many people going to her house and she would become depressed,” she said on Jan 31.
Cianjur Police chief Adj. Sr. Coms. Juang Andi Priyanto said it took almost four years for the police to track down the suspect as he moved around a lot and made it difficult for the police to find him.
He accused the alleged kidnapper of also forcing the victim to work to generate income for their daily needs. He said they were eventually traced by the police when the suspect returned to their village after the victim requested to meet with her parents.
Lidya said the victim is currently being supervised by a psychologist in the shelter to support her mental being.
“Currently, she’s only 15 years old, which means she has a high-risk [pregnancy]. We’re preparing her so she could have a normal childbirth,” she said.
She added that the victim’s mental condition is improving and she has already engaged in conversation with the psychologist.
“Psychologically, we see that the trauma has been decreasing as she started to become more active in conversation. She also wants to return to school but she has the responsibility of taking care of her child,” she said.
“We keep observing her condition so there won’t be additional trauma.”
She said further analysis by the psychologist who is supervising the victim is needed to determine whether she is ready to be reintegrated into her family.
“We have to ensure her security and well-being. We don’t want her to get stigmatised by her surroundings when she returns to her family,” she said.
She said she also appreciated the police for charging the suspect under the 2002 Child Protection Law and Article 335 of the Criminal Code regarding kidnapping.
“[The police] charged the suspect using Article 81 clauses one and two [of the 2002 Child Protection Law] because there were sexual acts with a minor and the [Criminal Code’s] Article 335. The laws carry a minimum sentence of a five-year imprisonment to a maximum sentence of 15 years,” she said.
However, she said she hopes the attorney would also prosecute with additional charges because of the suspect’s close relationship with the family, which is regulated by Law No.17/2016 on the stipulation of the government regulation in lieu of law (Perppu) No.1/2016 regarding child Protection.
Lidya said upon conviction the judge could sentence the suspect to 20 years’ imprisonment based on the 2016 law.
Children Rights Advocacy Agency’s executive director, Andi Akbar, urged the government to protect the victim and provide her with psychological consultation, especially as she faced potential stigmatisation by people in her surroundings.
“The most important thing is the personal psychological treatment. Moreover, the family and local communities need to be educated so there won’t be any stigma that could worsen her condition,” he said.