A poster explaining that child sexual abuse is a crime (Photo: AFP/VNA).

Hanoi (VNA) – Many activities are planned across Vietnam in June – the Action Month for Children – to create a change in society’s awareness, actions and responsibility for child protection, care and education.

At the ninth session of the 14th National Assembly (NA), legislators spent one day (May 27) to review the enforcement of policies and laws on child abuse prevention and control, a sign that child abuse prevention and control is truly a “hot” issue and a shared concern of the entire society.

Three key stages in child protection

A NA report on the supervision of child abuse across the country from January 1, 2015 to June 30, 2019 pointed to shortcomings and weaknesses in child abuse prevention and control.

In this period, a total of 8,442 child abuse cases involving 8,709 children were detected. Among them, sexual abuse was the most common and left the most serious consequences, accounting for 75.4 percent. In addition, there are currently a large number of cases related to child labour, child abandonment and child marriage.

This number, however, barely reflects the reality of the situation. The number of children abused by their relatives and acquaintances is still on the rise. Children are compromised not only by strangers, but by relatives and acquaintances at schools and homes which are supposed to be the safest places for them.

Nguyen Trong An, former Deputy Director of the Department of Children under the Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs, said that the preventive level should be a priority in child protection, but most cases are detected late.

“We are lacking a network for early detection and early prevention. Those in charge of social work in localities and in the community are very important. They know each specific situation, in any family where the father is an alcoholic, the parents are preparing to divorce, there is a child about to drop out of school, or their children are left at home with their stepfather, they will be counselors to prevent regrettable cases from happening,” An emphasised.

At a ceremony to launch the Action Month for Children 2929 held at Cau Giay district’s Dich Vong Secondary School on June 1, Minister of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs Dao Ngoc Dung stressed the need to do the three key stages in child protection: the fastest detection, the fastest and strictest punishment, and the fastest and best intervention for children.

Minister of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs Dao Ngoc Dung listens to children’s opinions (Photo: VNA).

The community should join hands

Minister Dung said the Party, State, community, parents, and teachers have always focused on the care of children.

He highlighted joint efforts made in child protection and the prevention of child abuse, saying such work should not be placed only on a few ministries and agencies but instead shared by socio-political organisations, families, schools, and the community.

The minister spoke of tasks that need coordination, such as completing relevant institutions, policies and laws and seriously observing laws.

Better communications work would equip children with the necessary knowledge and skills to protect themselves, Dung said, stressing the responsibility of leaders of agencies and units in child abuse cases.

Rana Flowers, UNICEF Chief Representative in Vietnam, called for efforts to build a country and a post-pandemic world where children can be safe and free from abuse.

Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc has signed Decree No.23/CT-TTg on strengthening measures to ensure the enforcement of the rights of children and child protection.

The PM asked ministries, agencies and the people’s committees at all levels to strictly enforce legal regulations on children, regularly reviewing and fine-tuning related policies and regulations and raising public awareness of child protection policies and laws.

Heads of agencies and local authorities must be responsible for child deaths due to injuries, the serious violation of children’s rights, and violence and sex abuse targeting children within fields and areas under their jurisdiction, or for not promptly dealing with children’s right violation case.

The Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs was assigned to review and amend laws and policies on social assistance to children living in an especially disadvantaged situation, collect children’s feedback during the process of building relevant policies and programmes.

The Ministry was also tasked with building a national action programme for children and a programme on child labour prevention and mitigation.

It must also regularly inspect the enforcement of child rights as well as policies and laws on the prevention of child abuse.

Speaking at the launching ceremony of the action month, on behalf of children nationwide, Dang Thuy Linh, an 8A2 grader at Dich Vong Secondary School, said, “We wish to receive more love, respect and understanding from our parents and teachers. Please give us more time and listen to us, trust us and respect our thoughts and feelings on our journey to maturity”./.

 

To intensify activities to protect children, the Action Month for Children 2020 is themed “Joining hands to protect children and prevent child abuse”.

Many messages and slogans have been applied, such as: “Listen to children with heart, protect children with actions”; “Flogging does not make children grow up, love is stronger than scolding”; “Don’t let any children be left behind”; “The law strictly punishes all acts of violence and abuse of children”; “Safe for children, happy for parents”; “Call 111 to protect children”.

VNA