Võ Văn Hoan, deputy chairman of the HCM City People’s Committee, said at a meeting held last Friday (March 19) to review the National Action Programme for Children in the 2012-2020 period. Photo nld.com.vn
HCM CITY — Concerted efforts and much tougher penalties are needed to prevent sexual abuse of children, a HCM City leader has said.
Most cases of abuse were perpetrated by family members or caregivers, Võ Văn Hoan, deputy chairman of the city People’s Committee, told a meeting held on Friday to review the 2012-20 National Action Programme for Children.
The abuse could have long-term behavioural, developmental and mental health problems, he said.
It was critical to educate the public about identifying, preventing, and blowing the whistle on sexual abuse to ensure children are protected, he said.
He instructed the police to quickly investigate complaints about sexual abuse or assault of children and make public the offenders’ identity.
A hotline should be set up for victims, and concerted efforts by various agencies were needed to respond rapidly to any incident, he said.
Ngô Xuân Thọ, deputy head of the city police department’s criminal investigation office, said 790 cases of child sexual abuse were reported in 2012-20.
Củ Chi District led with 117 of them, followed by District 9 with 109 and Bình Chánh with 98, he said.
Around 44 per cent of them were perpetrated by neighbours and others known to the victims and 42 per cent by people normally expected to have an intimate relationship with the victims, he said.
Relatives accounted for 3 per cent.
The number of unreported instances was huge since the offenders are relatives or have other close ties with the victims’ families, he said. —VNS