Many said the building and perfection of policies and laws on this matter is like building a “safe house” for children.
Pham Thi Minh Hien from the central province of Phu Yen said the existing legal framework for child protection is like a house that has yet to be made safe and sound.
Child protection must begin with investing in human resources, defining the responsibilities of agencies, organisations, educational institutions, families, and individuals, and in particular raising awareness among all-level Party committees and local authorities, she said.
Competent agencies must share responsibility, but coordination to date has been loose, she said and expressed her concern over current State budget and financial mechanisms which have yet to be sufficiently strong to meet requirements in child protection efforts.
Meanwhile, To Van Tam from the Central Highlands province of Kon Tum said child labour and child abuse, especially child sexual abuse, have long-term harms on mental health.
Children are being abused in both rural and urban areas, many are victimised even in their home, he said, proposing making the popularisation of relevant policies and laws a strategy, resolutely imposing the strictest punishment and promoting the responsibility of all-level Party committees and authorities, especially those at the grassroots level, in order to end child labour.
Apart from law and policy making, it is necessary to put forth and implement programmes preventing and mitigating child labour as well as packages in support of child workers, he suggested.
Pham Van Tuan from the northern province of Thai Binh echoed Tam’s views on strict punishments against those guilty of child abuse.
The legal system, especially criminal law regarding child abuse in general and child sexual abuse in particular, should be reviewed and amendments and supplements made where necessary, he said.
He also proposed building a coordination mechanism among concerned agencies in handling cases of child abuse.