HA NOI (VNS) — The lack of safety of women and girls in public places and sexual abuse is quite serious, but does not receive proper action from relevant ministries and organisations, experts said at a policy dialogue in Ha Noi yesterday.
Le Thi Van Anh, an expert from the Department of Criminal and Administrative Law under the Ministry of Justice, said that the present laws did not have detailed regulations about sexual abuse in marriage and erotic activities of children.
As a results, many wives were forced by her husbands to have relations, but there is not enough of a legal foundation to punish them, she said.
As many as 87 per cent of women and girls have been sexually abused at public places, according to a study of the ActionAid.
The study was conducted from December 2013 to January 2014 in HCM City and Ha Noi on 1,506 women and girls and 540 men and witnesses. All of them were over 16 years old.
More than half of the women and girls were sexually abused more than once, said the study.
But most of the women and girls did not inform to the police or concerned offices due to feeling ashamed or afraid of revenge.
Tran Thi Bich Loan, deputy director of the Gender Equality Department under the Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs, suggested to open a centre to solve the crisis and give support to victims of sexual abuse.
A separate hotline to receive information about the issue should be set up.
More instruction and education on sexual abuse should be expanded so that the victims and the community would raise their voice and express their opinion on the issue.
Phan Thu Hien, a gender expert from the United Nations Population Fund, said that gender equality policies should be inserted into the daily work of workers.
Authorities at different levels should have programmes to solve basic socio-economic reasons of abuse, including poverty and lack of education, she said adding that one of the programmes could be to supply jobs to youth.
Closer co-operation between domestic and international organisations should be promoted to conduct, supervise and access projects on the issues, she said. — VNS