Sex abuse within families became a hot topic recently after a number of high profile cases hit the headlines in China.
Images appeared online showing a young man placing his hands inside the dress of a young girl and fondling her breast in a Nanjing railway station. The girl was reportedly just 12 years old, and told witnesses that the 18-year-old was her ‘brother.’ The young man was detained on charges of acting indecently towards a child.
A few days later, photos emerged of a man placing his hands inside the underwear of a young girl in a Chongqing hospital. The man was reportedly the girl’s uncle, and is also currently under criminal detention.
Sadly, scandals like these are not rare in China. Among 433 reported child sex abuse cases in 2016, 10% were within families, and the real number is said to be 6 times greater, as most cases go unreported.
Experts suggest that offenders should be punished and, more importantly, children should be protected from family relationships of this nature.
Tong Lihua, director of the Beijing Children’s Legal Aid and Research Center, told Legal Daily that the law requires the long-term revocation of custody in cases of serious sex abuse in families, although exactly how to implement it was vague before 2014 when detailed standards and procedures were proposed.
Seven situations are stipulated in the guidelines, most importantly where minors are sexually abused, are sold or abandoned. So far, 18 cases have resulted in the revocation of custody, a third of which are related to sexual abuse.
“For minors being abused by family members, their families are dangerous. We must change their growing environment and provide them with a healthier one,” said Tong.
Furthermore, it’s argued that revoking custody shouldn’t be the end of the story. “Juveniles belong not only to their families, but also to the country. The government is their protector, and should exert a positive influence on guaranteeing their healthy growth,” said an official from the Division of Social Affairs in the Ministry of Civil Affairs.
When parents or other custodians do harm to children, they said, the government should intervene, and even become children’s custodian if necessary.
In one example, a young girl from Hubei province in central China had a father who was a convicted rapist, whose custody was later revoked, with the government designating another person as her custodian.
That person was the one who petitioned for the revocation of the father’s custody, and was willing to protect the girl’s right to education and medical care as well as her physical and mental health. In addition, the government has provided the girl with grants every year, to help solve her financial troubles. The girl finally got over the difficult time in her life, and became an excellent member of a Students’ Union.
“Regarding the guardianship of minors, the government is shouldering more and more responsibilities,” Tong said.
Sep 24, 2017 0
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