HÀ NỘI - Deputy Prime Minister Vũ Đức Đam has ordered relevant ministries to strengthen measures to prevent sexual abuse of and violence against children.
The order comes following media exposure of several cases of child abuse that has sparked public outrage across the nation.
In the newly-issued document, Deputy PM Đam assigns the Ministry Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs to take the lead and work with relevant ministries, sectors and agencies to propose measures and implement them.
The Ministry of Education and Training will be responsible for equipping students with skills and measures to improve their capacity to identify and avoid sexual harassment.
Public outcry over the recently reported increase in child sexual abuse cases has prompted authorities to enforce children’s rights and scrutinise implementation of international conventions that the nation has signed to ensure the protection of children’s rights in particular and human rights in general.
Deputy Director of the Research and Training Centre for Community Development, Nguyễn Trọng An, also former deputy head of the Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs’ Department of Child Care and Protection, said many parents and children lacked knowledge and awareness of sexual abuse.
Therefore, some child victims did not know they were being abused and some abusers were unaware they were breaking the law, he said.
The 2016 Child Law defines child sexual abuse as the use of force, threat to use force, forcing or seducing children to join sexual activity, including rape, sexual intercourse and obscenity, and using children for prostitution or pornography in any form.
In Viet Nam, child sexual abuse has been on the rise in recent years, An said, citing statistics from the Ministry of Public Security wherein more than 1,000 cases were reported each year in the 2008-2011 period.
The figure in 2012 was 1,400 and rose to 1,500-1,700 between 2014 and 2015. Abuse could be more common than reported due to poor information and data collection in localities, he said, adding that sexual abuse inflicts serious physical and psychological harm on children.
Negative impacts of the market economy and poor family education were among the reasons behind the increase in sexual abuse, An said.
He said many parents paid little attention to their children and lacked knowledge of children’s rights as well as skills to protect children from sexual violence and abuse.
Two months ago, a mother in Hà Nội filed a complaint with the Thịnh Liệt Ward police in Hoàng Mai District about her eight-year-old daughter being sexually abused by Cao Mạnh Hùng, who lived in a rented house nearby. Last week, the police arrested Hung for further investigation into the alleged child molestation.
A seven-year-old girl in Thủ Đức District, HCM City, was abused at school and seriously injured on February 14 this year. The child said she was attacked by a man in her school, which is located in the same district. A year ago, a mother in southern Vũng Tàu Province reported to the police that her daughter and seven other children in her apartment building were abused by an elderly man living nearby.
In several cases, authorities initially declined to take follow-up action, citing lack of evidence, or sat on the petition without giving reasons for their inaction. -- VNS