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Wednesday, July 6, 2022

UNICEF calls for strengthened child protection system after abused girl dies in HCMC

The Saigon Times

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HCMC – The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has called for a strengthened protection system and zero tolerance to violence to better protect children in Vietnam after an eight-year-old girl was abused to death in HCMC.

Nguyen Vo Quynh Trang, 26, has been arrested for beating and torturing her fiancé’s daughter to death. The woman, a native of Gia Lai Province, lived with her fiancé and his daughter at a high-end apartment tower in Binh Thanh District, where she often beat the girl and forced her to do chores.

On December 22, Trang beat the girl with a wooden cane and kicked her until she vomited and became unconscious. The girl was then hospitalized, but the doctors pronounced her dead on arrival.

Police said multiple wounds were found on the girl’s body, suggesting she had been beaten many times before her death.

Nguyen Vo Quynh Trang at the police station – PHOTO: HCMC POLICE

“UNICEF expresses its deep sadness and concern over the recent violent death of a young girl at the hands of someone who she should have been able to trust, to protect her. Sadly, most abuse is perpetrated by someone known and trusted by the child. Shrouded in silence, alone,” said Rana Flowers, UNICEF Representative to Vietnam.

According to UNICEF, 68.4% of Vietnamese children aged 1-14 reported having experienced violence from parents and caregivers in their families. The rising accounts of abuse of children, even greater during Covid lockdowns, signal an urgent need for a strengthened approach.

A strengthened protection system for women and children is urgently needed in Vietnam. This system should be staffed with trained social workers, not volunteers, not non-trained welfare workers, but qualified professional staff who can identify, intervene, respond and protect.

“Underpinned by the best interest of the child, the protection of women, not the perpetrator, a system that works together with trained police, child-friendly judges and courts, and where zero tolerance to violence is practiced by all authorities, in all schools, across communities,” Flowers said.

According to the UNICEF representative, zero tolerance would see neighbors who hear the violence or cries reach out and insist the police take action to protect the victim. It would see police stand accountable for taking action, health workers and teachers who recognize the signs and report the abuse, and it would see a community-based solution where the child or woman can remain in a safe home while the perpetrator is removed.

In addition, it requires everyone to do more, to take a stand to protect the vulnerable, to raise the awareness of women and children that any form of violence is not acceptable and that reaching out for help to make it stop is essential.

Working with sister agencies, with the support of the Governments who inspire commitment and bring expertise and funding, such as Australia, the EU and others, the UNICEF supports the creation of a coordinated protection system.

But for this to secure change for the people who need it most, to achieve the levels of awareness and accountability for protection across Vietnam, Government resources and a revitalized Government commitment are needed to create the kind of protection system that exists in so many countries in this region and the world.

Please contact 111 – the National Child Protection Hotline from the Ministry of Labor, Invalids and Social Affairs to seek help and report violence against children.

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