[Hpn] Child Abuse In Vietnam

William Charles Tinker wtinker@metrocast.net
Fri, 11 Feb 2005 22:23:06 -0500


Crying shame: Child abuse in VN


HA NOI - UNICEF's recent global report revealed up to 40 million children
throughout the world are abused or neglected, and Viet Nam is not immune
from this disgrace.
Deputy director of National Committee for Population, Family and Children,
Phung Ngoc Hung, said child victims of abuse, under-age labour and
homelessness are burning issues for the country, despite Viet Nam's ongoing
efforts to protect the rights of children.
In particular children may be vulnerable to emotional, physical or sexual
abuse at home, school and on the streets.
Deputy head of the Communication and Education Department, Ņang Thi Bich
Thuan, said they often received reports of parents and teachers mistreating
children, despite this behaviour being illegal.
Official figures on the number of Vietnamese children affected are not
available as surveys or extensive reports on a national scale have not been
carried out yet.
Thuan said child abuse was a thorny and common issue confronting many
Vietnamese families.
A joint survey by UNICEF and the Committee for Population, Family and
Children in 2003 may be indicative of the grave problem the country is
They questioned 2,978 children and adults in Ha Noi, the southern province
of An Giang, and the northwest province of Lao Cai, and found physical
punishment of children was widespread.
Most of the children surveyed said they were shouted at, insulted or
reprimanded within their family and at school.
Seventy per cent of the 2,800 children surveyed said they were slapped, and
more than half said they were beaten with objects, with nearly 10 per cent
of children reporting they had received medical treatment after a beating.
Nearly 8 per cent reported they had been touched on the genitals by an
adult, and about 3 per cent had been raped or experienced other forms of
sexual abuse. One in three children reported they were emotionally abused.
Child welfare specialists said parents and the entire community should be
made aware of the rights of children at home, in education or at work.
Agencies in relevant sectors are also dealing with other forms of child
abuse such as the use of children in illegal activities such as drug
trafficking and begging.
These specialists said child abuse usually occurs in families where parents
have little or no awareness that what they are doing is wrong. For this
reason, specialists argued that besides educating children on their rights,
it is necessary to educate parents about what is permissable as well.
As it becomes more aware of its shortcomings, Viet Nam is outlining some
strategies to help protect children and prevent child abuse.
The committee will launch a five-year strategy against child abuse, focused
on public campaigns about prevention and protection measures, early this
year. -VNS

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