A strengthened protection system and zero tolerance to violence are required to better protect children
Statement by Rana Flowers, UNICEF Representative to Viet Nam
Ha Noi, 29 December 2021 – UNICEF today expressed 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, the majority of abuse is perpetrated by someone known and trusted by the child. Shrouded in silence, alone. 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 Viet Nam – a system that is staffed by 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, by protection of the women– not the perpetrator –a system that works together with trained police, child-friendly judges and courts – and where a zero tolerance to violence is practice by all authorities, in all schools, across communities.
A zero tolerance would see neighbours who hear the violence or the 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. And it requires us all to do more, to take a stand to protect those made 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, 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, accountability for protection across Viet Nam, an injection of Government resources and a revitalized Government commitment is needed to create the kind of protection system that exists in so many countries in this region, and the world.
UNICEF promotes the rights and wellbeing of every child, in everything we do. Together with our partners, we work in 190 countries and territories to translate that commitment into practical action, focusing special effort on reaching the most vulnerable and excluded children, to the benefit of all children, everywhere. For more information about COVID-19, visit https://www.unicef.org/vietnam/covid-19
For more information about UNICEF and its work for children, visit https://www.unicef.org/vietnam