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Lower age of criminal responsibility for child sex abusers: Lawyer

Update: December, 08/2017 - 18:00
Hà Nội City Children’s Council for the 2017-20 period with 41 out-standing student members was officially launched on Friday. — VNS Photo Kiều Vân
Viet Nam News

HÀ NỘI  Lawyer Ngô Anh Tuấn has proposed implementing specific regulations on acts of child sexual abuse and lowering the age of criminal responsibility for such abusers from 18 to 16.

Tuấn and other lawyers attended a workshop titled “Prevention of child sexual abuse - From law, policy to reality,” co-organised by the Centre for Studies and Applied Sciences on Gender, Family, Women and Adolescents, and the Dutch Embassy on December 7.

According to Tuấn, who works with law firm ATN, Penal Code 1999 doesn’t explicitly state the concept of "lewd behavior" and "other sex acts," doesn’t specifically discriminate each act of lewdness, and doesn’t impose strict penalty.

He emphasised this was a serious flaw in Việt Nam’s criminal justice system.

According to Lieutenant Colonel Khổng Ngọc Oanh from the Criminal Police Department, Ministry of Public Security, in the first six months of this year, the police detected 696 cases of child sexual abuse, with 716 persons accused of child sexual abuse and 710 child victims.

This was an increase by 43 cases, 56 accused persons and 22 child victims against the same period last year.

Oanh said most cases occurred in deserted areas, especially in rural, remote and mountainous areas, which were often discovered too late, hence it was difficult to collect biological evidence.

Child sexual abusers were often relatives or familiar with the victims, didn’t have criminal records and were not on the list of criminals of the local police force, therefore, they were difficult to detect. 

"Psychology and awareness of children is unstable, coupled with the psychological trauma of sexually abusive behavior, therefore the victim’s statement is often scattered and inaccurate. Child victims can even change their statement following the guardian’s declaration. It is difficult for the investigation police to collect information accurately," Oanh said.

Meanwhile, Hà Nội City Children’s Council for the 2017-20 period was officially launched on December 8 to create a favourable environment, enhance the capacity of the city’s children and promote their rights to participate in children’s issues.

By enabling children to raise their voice and be heard, the organisation will support State agencies and organisations related to children, especially people’s councils at all levels to prepare and make recommendations on policies related to children.

Hà Nội City Children’s Council has 41 members, who are outstanding students in all fields of learning, arts and social activities, aged 9-15 years. The chairperson is Nguyễn Cẩm Tú, a ninth-grade student of Nam Từ Liêm Secondary School, and the two deputy chairpersons are Nguyễn Hải Anh, an eighth grader of Nguyễn Bỉnh Khiêm Secondary School, and Nguyễn Như Khôi, a sixth-grade student of Chu Văn An Secondary School.  VNS



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