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Saigon Proposes Forming Special Police Force to Protect Children Against Abuse

The proposal is one of the conclusions drawn by the Ho Chi Minh City People's Committee in their latest report on child protection legal policies.

On October 31, the municipal People’s Committee reported that from 2015 to 2019, there were 782 child abuse cases, compared to 691 cases from 2011 to 2014, Tuoi Tre reports. In 94.5% of these cases, the victims were girls. Sexual harassment and assault accounted for 695 of the 782 cases.

To counter the increasing number of child abuse incidents, the People’s Committee proposed to the Ministry of Justice that a police force specializing in child protection be established. Along with the new police force, regular training should also be provided to improve skills and knowledge among police officers, state officials, courts and judges when it comes to child abuse cases.

Over the last five years, child abuse cases have led to the deaths of six children. Six others were injured, while 14 are dealing with mental instability, nine left school and 661 more are living with the dire consequences of abuse on their physical and mental health.

City authorities also stressed that this number doesn’t necessarily reflect the extent of the problem in reality, which is even more harrowing. Many families choose to remain silent, and many children might not report what has happened to them due to a lack of understanding about sexual harassment. Officials also noted that the most vulnerable age group to these abuses is getting even younger, with the majority of victims belonging to the 13-16 age group.