Viet Nam News
Đặng Hoa Nam, deputy director of the Department of Child Care and Protection under the Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs, speaks to the newspaper Thời báo Kinh tế Việt Nam (Việt Nam Economic Times) on the urgent need to coordinate Government activities in child care and protection across all agencies and levels.
Do you think that the punishment for child abusers in this country is strong enough to deter abuse?
I should say our child legal system is rather comprehensive. Under the current laws, acts of child abuse, including sexual harassment and corporal punishment, have been duly punished. Of course, abuse of small children is given more severe punishment.
However, one issue I want to emphasise here is that the aspect of legal education should be given special attention. Education can be expanded in various forms, including through mass communication campaigns on upholding the Law on Child Protection.
Do you think that law enforcement agencies have carried out their assigned duties properly before and after child abuse cases have been brought to light?
I have to say that the Instruction No.18 by the Prime Minister on how to deal with child abuse cases has been rather comprehensive.
In the Instruction, the PM demands that the Ministry of Public Security, the People’s Court and the Supreme People’s Procuracy review all the cases that have not been settled while giving treatment priority to new cases. In addition, the PM also asks Chair Persons of all provincial and municipal People’s Committees to take responsibility before the PM for the delay in settling cases of child abuse. Since the Law on Child Protection came into force in June 2017 and the Government’s Decree No56/CP detailed some articles in the Law, we have sufficient legal tools to deal with child abuse/violation cases.
For example, upon learning of the case of a child in Châu Thành, Kiên Giang Province who has been beaten by his father, the District People’s Committee; the police; the Department of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs; the Women’s Union and others have worked together to rescue the child and taken action against the father.
What will happen when a child is reportedly physically abused by their own family members?
It is very sad to say that many care takers, including family members, are often the ones who have used corporal punishment against their children.
The Government Decree 56 has listed some specific measures to protect a child from a violent environment. It provides for the immediate separation of the child from the environment within 12 hours. And within five working days, the chair person of the local People’s Committee has to sign an action plan to protect the child victim. Of course, he or she also has the right to order other relevant agencies to provide necessary services for the child. The costs of these services are covered by the State budget.
Furthermore, law enforcement authorities have the right to separate a child victim from his or her family after an incident.
Do the local authorities have to bear responsibility for child abuse cases in their localities?
According to the Law on Child Protection, when a delay in the settlement of child abuse cases in a locality occurs, primary responsibility falls to the Chair person of the Provincial People’s Committee.
As far as I know, by now, more than 30 provinces and cities nation-wide have issued action plans on how to deal with child abuse in their provinces. — VNS