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Over 8,700 kids in Vietnam abused in 4.5 years: NA report

Saturday, May 30, 2020, 14:07 GMT+7
Over 8,700 kids in Vietnam abused in 4.5 years: NA report
Students at Hung Vuong High School in District 5, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam who are members of a self-defense club are seen practicing self-defense moves in this file photo taken in 2019. Photo: Nhu Hung / Tuoi Tre

More than 8,700 Vietnamese children were found to be abused between January 2015 and June 2019, according to a National Assembly (NA) report.

Le Thi Nga, head of the NA’s Committee of Judicial Affairs, presented a report about the outcomes of legal enforcement of child abuse prevention and control during the four-and-a-half-year period at a session on Wednesday.

Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi reported the largest number of child abuse cases among localities at 782 and 655, respectively, during the period.

Over 8,400 cases of child abuse in Vietnam were brought to light and more than 8,700 children, including around 7,000 girls and 1,700 boys, were found to have been victims of abuse, accounting for 0.035 percent of the country’s total children number.

Among them, more than 6,400 children were sexually abused, making up 73.85 percent of the country’s total abuse cases. There were cases of female victims sexually abused by their relatives, including fathers or grandfathers.

Over 850 children were subject to physical violence, and over 100 kids were trafficked or kidnapped.

Also, more than 1,300 vulnerable victims were subject to other forms of abuse, such as child maltreatment, child pornography and the distribution of pornographic materials to children.

The number of children who were victims of abuse in the first half of 2019 surged to 1,400, or 80 percent of the total number of those cases recorded in 2018.

Around seven children were abused on a daily basis in the first six months of last year.

The rise in reported abuse cases indicated children and the people were “more aware” of speaking out against abusive behaviors, the NA report noted, adding there was also improvement in the detection and handling of child abuse cases by the authorities.

Nga was quoted by the Vietnam News Agency as saying that the actual figure of abused victims might be higher because many cases remained unreported by victims’ families.

She blamed a lack of attention from some local authorities, resulting in ineffective state management on child abuse prevention and control, and loose coordination between schools, families and local governments.

At least 337 children among the abuse cases were killed during the four-and-a-half-year period, according to the report.

More than 410 girls were impregnated, over 190 suffered from mental health disorders, at least 375 were physically injured, and 180 had to drop out of school.

Other victims were physically and mentally damaged to varying degrees.

The number of child abuse cases is predicted to be on the increase in the years to come if preventative measures are not taken efficiently, according to the report.

Le Thi Nga, head of the National Assembly’s Committee of Judicial Affairs, speaks at a National Assembly session on May 27, 2020. Photo: National Assembly
Le Thi Nga, head of the National Assembly’s Committee of Judicial Affairs, speaks at a National Assembly session on May 27, 2020. Photo: National Assembly

Recommendations

To improve the efficacy of child abuse prevention and control, the NA’s supervision delegation urged the government to issue several programs, including a ten-year national action program for children and a program on child labor reduction over the next five years.

Criteria for statistics on administrative fines regarding child abuse and plans to prevent and respond to child abuse in families, schools and cyberspace should also be set forth.

The delegation also suggested that 90 percent of child abuse cases must be resolved and all perpetrators strictly dealt with.

The United Nations Children’s Fund said in a report in June 2019 that child sexual abuse and exploitation were issues of growing concern in Vietnam.

The agency said effectively addressing child sexual abuse requires clear provisions penalizing all forms of sexual contact with a child — all penetrative acts, all non-penetrative acts, such as sexual touching, as well as sexual acts that do not involve physical contact, such as exposing oneself to a child or inducing a child to expose herself or himself.

Additionally, child-sensitive investigation and trial procedures should be made in a way that assists children to give effective testimony and reduce additional trauma from participating in criminal proceedings.

Application of such provisions and procedures should be eligible to all children under 18 years of age as well, according to the UNICEF.

The agency commented the Southeast Asian nation has made considerable progress in strengthening national laws to address violence against minors.

The Law on Children 2016, Penal Code 2015 and Criminal Procedure Code 2015 include many important, new provisions to better protect minors from sexual abuse and other forms of violence.

However, according to the agency, there are some remaining gaps to address to further align national laws with the Convention on the Rights of the Child and Optional Protocol on the Sale of Children, Child Prostitution and Child Pornography, both of which Vietnam has ratified.

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Pham Nhat / Tuoi Tre News

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