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Child abuse cases prompt Vietnamese province to install cameras in kindergartens

By Vo Thanh   April 17, 2017 | 11:31 pm PT
Child abuse cases prompt Vietnamese province to install cameras in kindergartens
Camera recordings are transmitted back to a monitor screen with regular observer. Photo by VnExpress/Vo Thanh
Intensive mainstream and social media reports have prompted officials to intervene following a rising number of child sexual and physical abuse cases.

Education authorities in Vietnam's central province of Thua Thien-Hue have ordered local nursery schools and kindergartens to install surveillance cameras in classrooms and toilets to protect kids following recent child abuse scandals that have caused public uproar across the country.

Pham Van Hung, head of the province's Education and Training Department, told the education ministry he had made the request and also asked local educational establishments to improve walls and fences.

Hung said parents of small children are dismayed over the rising number of child sexual and physical abuse cases recently exposed in Vietnam.

"The installation of cameras in classrooms and toilets aims to monitor teachers and detect any ill-intentioned strangers attempting to break into schools," said Hung.

It was not immediately clear if the policy has been approved.

A number of pre-school establishments in Thua Thien-Hue have installed surveillance cameras in classrooms. Ton Nu Luc Ha, headmaster of Hoa Mai Kindergarten in Hue, said her school has installed 28 cameras in 24 classrooms and function rooms.

"Images of the classrooms and the function rooms are recorded and transmitted to a large screen with a regular observer," Ha said. "The system will help our school to monitor teachers and prevent abusive behavior towards kids."

In Vietnam, more than 8,200 cases of child abuse came to light between 2011 and 2015, including 5,300 cases of sexual abuse, according to official figures released last year. In most cases the perpetrators were people with authority over the children, like teachers, school security guards and relatives.

Experts said at a recent conference that sexual abuse cases in Vietnam tend to be prolonged or even buried due to legal loopholes that require evidence of serious physical effects on the victims.

In March, intensive mainstream and social media reports angered the public and prompted top government officials to intervene following the exposure of several child sexual abuse cases. Police have arrested two male suspects, namely a 76-year-old accused of molesting seven girls at an apartment building in the southern beach town of Vung Tau, and a 34-year-old Hanoian for assaulting his 8-year-old neighbor.

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