Child Sexual Abuse
Child sexual abuse and exploitation are issues of growing concern in Viet Nam. Effectively combatting this serious form of violence against children requires:
- Clearly defined penal provisions prohibiting all forms of child sexual abuse and sexual exploitation;
- Child-sensitive investigation and trial procedures to assist children to give effective testimony and to reduce additional trauma from participating in criminal proceedings; and
- Application of such provisions and procedures to all children under-18 years of age.
In recent years, Viet Nam has made considerable progress in strengthening national laws to address violence against minors. The Law on Children 2016, Penal Code 2015 and Criminal Procedure Code 2015 include many important new provisions to better protect minors from sexual abuse and other forms of violence. However, there are some remaining gaps to address to further align national laws with the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) and Optional Protocol on the Sale of Children, Child Prostitution and Child Pornography (OPSC), both of which Viet Nam has ratified.
This paper outlines key gaps in the Penal Code and includes recommendations for both short-term and long-term reforms. UNICEF also recommends that the Criminal Procedure Code be reviewed and revised to strengthen protections for minors, but the scope of this paper is limited to the Penal Code.