Ministry to help police handle sexual abuse of children

By Hoang Thuy   June 25, 2019 | 10:16 pm PT
Ministry to help police handle sexual abuse of children
The Ministry of Public Security has said it will be more directly involved with protecting children against sexual abuse in Vietnam. Photo by Reuters.
The Ministry of Public Security will directly assist local police in preventing and handling sexual abuse of children, a senior official says.

Colonel Pham Manh Thuong, deputy director of the ministry's Criminal Police Department, said at a conference in Hanoi Tuesday that the police force has been instructed to prioritize action in cases of sexual abuse of children, given recent "complicated developments."

Local police have been ordered to report all such cases to the ministry so it could provide guidance and send officers to assist with investigations.

Thuong said the Ministry of Public Security's hotline 113 is active all the time. The ministry is implementing a project to enhance capabilities for officials and investigators, and coordinating with the Ministry of Labor, Invalids and Social Affairs to build 10 interrogation/counselling facilities in as many provinces, he said.

Thuong also said that the facilities will be staffed by people who can speak local dialects and English. The staff will include women and doctors to assist girl victims.

He said the police would investigate key geographical areas, use their professional skills to prevent criminal acts and draft lists of people with criminal records, including foreigners living in or visiting the area.

The Ministry of Public Security and other relevant ministries are also looking into amending regulations to match the real situation regarding child abuse, he said.

"We are enhancing international cooperation through diplomatic channels. If foreigners commit violations in Vietnam, their countries' authorities would come to jointly investigate; if it happens in other countries then Vietnam would also go there to coordinate," he said.

Vietnam recorded 1,547 cases of child sex abuse in 2018, down slightly from a year earlier, according to figures from the Ministry of Public Security. But both public and experts have repeatedly complained that persons found guilty of rape and sexual harassment are treated too leniently.

In many recent cases, the perpetrators were those having authority over the children, including relatives and teachers.

One of the most prominent cases involved a top ex prosecutor in Da Nang, Vietnam's third largest city, who received molestation charges after camera footage at an aparment building in HCMC caught him holding and kissing a five-year-old girl. The charges were dismissed at a trial on Tuesday as the court demanded more evidence.

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