Ho Chi Minh City seeks concerted efforts to protect children from sexual abuse hinh anh 1Vo Van Hoan, deputy chairman of the municipal People’s Committee (Photo: VNA)

HCM City (VNS/VNA) — Concerted efforts and much tougher penalties are needed to prevent sexual abuse of children, a Ho Chi Minh City leader has said.

Most cases of abuse were perpetrated by family members or caregivers, Vo Van Hoan, deputy chairman of the People’s Committee of the country’s biggest city, told a recent meeting 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.

Ngo Xuan Tho, deputy head of the city police department’s criminal investigation office, said 790 cases of child sexual abuse were reported in 2012-20.

Cu Chi District led with 117 of them, followed by District 9 with 109 and Binh Chanh with 98, he said.

Around 44 percent of them were perpetrated by neighbours and others known to the victims and 42 percent by people normally expected to have an intimate relationship with the victims, he said. Relatives accounted for 3 percent. 

The number of unreported instances was huge since the offenders are relatives or have other close ties with the victims’ families, he said./.

Vũ Toàn source