Taipei, May 29 (CNA) Lawmakers and members of a civil group urged the government Tuesday to make amendments to acts governing child welfare and domestic violence that would improve reporting mechanisms.
Child abuse is a very serious issue in Taiwan, Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Chao Tien-lin said, citing Ministry of Interior (MOI) statistics that indicated an average of one child was abused every 17 minutes in the country.
The ministry's statistics noted there were 37,000 child abuse cases in 2010, a dramatic increase from the 8,400 cases recorded in 2004, Chao said at a press conference at the Legislative Yuan.
Chao said amendments should be made to the Domestic Violence Prevention Act and the Sexual Assault Crime Prevention Act to incorporate village and ward chiefs in reporting mechanisms.
Members of Guardian Angel, a civil group that attended the press conference, echoed Chao's calls for enhanced reporting mechanisms for child abuse cases, saying they were of the utmost importance.
Currently, perpetrators in abuse cases were only punished for causing death, pointed out Wu Yi-chen, another DPP lawmaker, who added that the whole abuse process should be included in evaluations of a case.
In addition, single parents that end up being imprisoned often leave their children in the care of partners or friends who may be untrustworthy or involved in criminal activity, so a reporting mechanism should be established to prevent children being placed in the care of such individuals, she added.
In response, an MOI official said mandatory reports to the village and ward chiefs were already included in the Children and Youth Welfare Act.
The ministry will consider whether similar stipulations should be added to the Domestic Violence Prevention Act, added Lin Wei-yen, a member of the ministry's sexual assault prevention committee.
Lin Chih-rui, head of the MOI's Child Welfare Bureau's Protection and Rehabilitation Division said on average about 70 percent of child abuse cases that lead to death involve children under the age of six.
Since 2009, the ministry has been cooperating with other government agencies to record birth registrations, vaccination records and whether children are enrolled in school, Lin said.
The press conference was held a day before the scheduled conclusion of the first trial of suspects in a child abuse case that happened in Xindian District in New Taipei City in January this year.
In the case, a two-year-old boy was tortured by four men before being killed by a heroine overdose.
(By Tseng Ying-yu and C.J. Lin)