2,000 children victims of violence and abuse annually

As many as 2,000 children have been victims to violence and abuse annually in Vietnam according to a report by the Ministry of Labor, Invalids and Social Affairs.

The report, which was released at the national conference on child protection held on Monday, revealed that over 60 percent of that number had been sexually abused.

In the first half of 2018, 682 violations against children were reported. As many as 21.3 percent of sexually abused children were victims of their family members while 59.9% were sexually attacked by neighbours and relatives, and only 12.6% by strangers, the report said.

Meanwhile, Director General of the Criminal Police under the Ministry of Public Security, Tran Ngoc Ha, said that they had dealt with 538 cases and gave sentences to 579 individuals for abusing children in the first six months of this year. 

Addressing at the conference, PM Nguyen Xuan Phuc called for increased protection of children against violence, abuse and risks to their health and life at communal level as only 5% of communes, or 590 out of the total 11,162 communes, have appointed officials in charge of this work.

"Vietnam was the first Asian country to ratify the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child," Phuc said. "Child protection and education have become an integral part of the constitution and several legal documents."

The government have provided free healthcare insurance to all children under six years of age and nearly 100% children aged five and under go to nursery schools.

"The National Expanded Programme on Immunisation has provided vaccines free of charge to nearly 100% Vietnamese children below one year old," he said. "Meanwhile, a number of good examples on child protection have been launched, including the national hotline number, 111, which came into operation last June and offers around-the-clock telephone consultancy about the law, policies, knowledge, and skills regarding the implementation of the rights of the child and child protection."

The prime minister however, pointed out several shortcomings, especially the stunted growth rate among children aged under five remains high at about 24%.

Speaking at the conference, Deputy PM Vu Duc Dam said that the real figures would be much higher as many harassing behaviours are still thought to be normal in the society.

PM Phuc said that creating good and healthy environment for children was a strategic task in order to ensure sustainable and long-term development. This was the responsibility of the whole political system and sectors from central to local levels as well as of every community and family.

Lao Dong/Dtinews

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