On the morning of Hanoi, April 23, 2021 – Management and Sustainable Development Institute (MSD) in collaboration with Vietnam Association for the Protection of Children’s Rights (VACR) held an event to summarize the campaign ” You are safe now, my child” and the online talk show “Children Sexual Abuse: Confronting or Compromising?”. This event was a part of the project “Supporting access to justice for sexually abused children in Hanoi” financially supported by the Justice Initiatives Facilitation Fund (JIFF) – a component of the ODA Project “Justice and Legal Empowerment in Vietnam – EU JULE” funded by the European Union.
In recent days, public opinion and society are shocked, outraged and sad when there are consecutive cases of child sexual abuse in Ba Ria – Vung Tau, Binh Thuan, An Giang, and Dak Nong, etc. with severe and complicated developments. There are many very young victims, leaving extremely unfortunate consequences. Especially noteworthy is that the criminals are close relatives, neighbors, stepfathers, landlords, and relatives of children.
To provide information and raise public awareness, especially for parents, babysitters, schools and society on the prevention of child sexual abuse; to provide medical and legal support when a child is sexually abused, in the period from March 25 to April 25, 2021, Management and Sustainable Development Institute (MSD) in collaboration with Vietnam Association for the Protection of Children’s Rights (VACR) has implemented the campaign “You are safe now, my child” within the framework of the project “Supporting access to justice for sexually abused children in Hanoi”.
“Children Sexual Abuse: Confronting or Compromising?” is the event summarizing the activities as well as the results of the campaign, broadcast live on the fan page MSD Vietnam, Spreading Love and Vietnam Association for the Protection of Children’s Rights.
The talk show had the participation of speakers: Ms. Ninh Thi Hong – Vice President of Vietnam Association for the Protection of Children’s Rights; Ms. Nguyen Phuong Linh – Director of MSD; Lawyer Dang Van Cuong – Hanoi Bar Association and Ms. Nguyen Khanh Linh – Officer of Peace House
At the talk show, the speakers discussed and shared their views on the recent situation of children being sexually abused, proceedings, evidence collection during the investigation of cases of child sexual abuse, as well as ways to provide psychological support for children who unfortunately become victims of sexual abuse.
Ms. Ninh Thi Hong – Vice President of Association for the Protection of Children’s Rights shared: “Everyone has a role to play in protecting children from abuse, in which the family plays the most important role, being a protective shield from danger. Recent cases show that acquaintances can also be perpetrators of child sexual abuse, so parents must always trust, accompany their children, and learn their psychology. Just by asking questions daily for about 15 minutes, parents can tell what risks their children may face. In particular, parents should guide their children and let them know that their bodies are invulnerable, including relatives if they do not want to. If there is a problem, immediately tell people they trust…. If unfortunately, our children are sexually abused, we cannot compromise but have to face it. We must report to the authorities to catch the perpetrator, which is also a way to protect our children and also protect others so that no more children are sexually abused.”
(Ms. Ninh Thi Hong – Vice President of Association for the Protection of Children’s Rights)
It is a common reality that although many cases have been reported and prosecuted, they tend to sink or linger, making families and victims feel discouraged and unwilling to continue. On this issue, lawyer Dang Van Cuong said: “For the case of prolonged events, the main reason is due to the delay in reporting. If you do not report early, it will be challenging to collect evidence. In some cases, families do not cooperate in the investigation process because they do not have enough trust to cooperate and also because they are threatened not to report, or the victim may have changes in mind, therefore they do not want to cooperate with the investigation. But if they remained silent, the victim can continue to be abused. In addition, the responsibilities of the litigator must also be further enhanced to best support children after being abused.”
(Lawyer Dang Van Cuong – Hanoi Bar Association)
Sharing her practical experience when directly supporting victims of sexual abuse, Ms. Nguyen Khanh Linh – Peace House Officer shared: “The cases of victims coming to Peace House mostly happened for a long time without being reported. Victims have many psychological problems, and answering questions repeatedly during the investigation leads to re-trauma for the victim. Some victims take up to 6 months to stabilize, but they do not return home but continue to stay in community organizations or shelters to integrate. There are also cases where, after a long investigation, the family blames the victim. The pursuit of justice for children sometimes causes victims to be left with psychological trauma.”
(Ms. Nguyen Khanh Linh – Officer of The Peace House)
Ms. Linh also shared: “Communication to educate and raise awareness for parents and babysitters is critical. Although Peace House has supported many cases over the past 14 years, compared to the actual number of people needing help, the results are still extremely modest”.
The talk show received many interactions and positive messages from the live audience and the audience watching via live stream. In particular, the speakers also discussed and answered the questions and concerns of the audience around issues around how to report crimes, the legal corridor to support child victims being sexually abused; evidence collection and proceedings for both boys and girls; penalties and ways to prevent pedophilia; the role of families, schools and teachers in protecting students from sexual abuse; gender stereotypes in child sexual abuse;…
(Ms. Nguyen Phuong Linh – Executive Director of MSD)
Summarizing the discussion, Ms. Nguyen Phuong Linh – Director of MSD said: “Summing up the communication campaign “You are safe now, my child” has had impressive results with handbooks, friendly cartoons to educate parents and children to learn about child abuse prevention and support children from sexual abuse. During one month, news articles, sharing articles, media events both online and direct also took place continuously at Hanoi Center, Chuong My, Ba Vi, Dong Anh, etc. with impressive results when nearly 300 people attended live, and so far there have been more than 30,000 organic reaches on two Facebook pages MSD Vietnam and Spreading Love. We are delighted with the large number of people participating in the campaign, which shows the community’s interest in joining hands to protect children from child sexual abuse. In addition to prevention communication education, we also emphasize promoting friendly access to justice for children and their families who are victims of sexual abuse in this campaign.
The journey to protect children from sexual abuse and to find justice for child victims can be arduous, but it is a mission, the right journey to pursue. We believe that step by step, not slowly, but quickly, decisively, we must not compromise but confront to protect children from sexual abuse, and help them have a safe environment for healthy growth. Even if there is only one child left with violence and abuse, that means we still have work to do.”
Watch the show here:
About Management and Sustainable Development Institute (MSD)
As a Vietnamese non-government organization, MSD acts to enable the environment for the development of the civil society sector and to promote the rights of marginalized groups, especially children, youth, women, and people with disabilities. MSD is now recognized as a leading organization in coordinating, supporting, and providing capacity-building, coaching, and consultancy services for CSOs in Vietnam. It is also a professional organization effectively responding to the needs and protecting the rights of disadvantaged communities, including advancing gender equality, through implementing projects, providing services to children, youth, women, street and migrant groups, and people with disabilities (PWD) in Vietnam and promoting gender equality.
(Ms) Chu Thu Ha – Event and Communication Manager
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