|HCM City has more than 1.2 million children under 16, 19,000 are considered to be disadvantaged and 40,000 others face the risk of becoming disadvantaged. — File Photo
HCM CITY (VNS) — Labour, invalids and social affairs offices in HCM City's districts should monitor illegal home-based childcare centres because children there face a high risk of violence, the HCM City Child Welfare Foundation has warned.
At a workshop on quick intervention and assistance for disadvantaged children held yesterday, Luong Thi Thuan, the NGO's chairwoman, said the violence inflicted on children by caregivers at such facilities have been highlighted in the media for the last few years.
District labour officials specialising in child-protection issues should keep a close watch on such facilities since intervention following media reports would be too late, she said.
Moreover, children whose fathers are addicted to alcohol are vulnerable to violence and sexual abuse and should be paid more attention, she said.
Forcing children to beg on the streets seems to be ignored by labour officials, she added.
Tran Cong Binh, child protection specialist at UNICEF Viet Nam, said reports about the number of children abused and exploited are always lower than actual.
Though there are some qualitative studies in Viet Nam on forms of child abuse and exploitation, national statistics on the scale and nature of violence against them are still not available.
A Multi Indicator Cluster Survey conducted by the General Statistics Office in 2011 in co-operation with UNICEF found that 73.9 per cent of children aged between two and 14 have experienced violent disciplining at the hands of parents/caregivers or other household members.
Binh said how to communicate is important while trying to change attitudes and social norms that encourage violence and discrimination through school and community programmes that engage influential, trusted individuals to act as agents of change, supported by mass media or social mobilisation campaigns,.
Services for children and their families that identify and offer help, support, and care and mechanisms to report violence should be strengthened, he added.
Thuan said when a child is found to be a victim of violence or sexual abuse, the best way to help is to remove them far from the offender.
The city has around 60 private shelters and these would be the best temporary places for such children, she said.
However, co-operation between labour agencies and shelters is not close, she said.
She called for changing the hotline numbers for reporting abuse and exploitation of children since they are difficult to remember.
Tran Trung Dung, deputy head of the city police's Office 113, said the calls on the 113 hot line about violation and exploitation of children come to his department, but it has only received 10 calls since September 2010.
Of the city's more than 1.2 million children under 16, 19,000 are considered to be disadvantaged and 40,000 others face the risk of becoming disadvantaged. — VNS