17/12/2022 15:05

Vietnam: Is the penalty frame for the crime of child abuse not deterrent enough?

Vietnam: Is the penalty frame for the crime of child abuse not deterrent enough?

"I see a lot of parents and grandparents taking care of their children and forcing them to beg. I'm curious if there is a criminal judgment addressing this behavior, and what the specific punishment is. Thank you!"_ Khanh Ngoc (HCMC, Vietnam)

Judgment 39/2021/HSST dated 12/05/2021 for intentionally causing injury and torturing children and grandchildren, with the following sentence:

"G and B are two half-sisters from different fathers. G lives with an unknown person and has two children. After that, he married the investor and gave birth to 05 children, including NTMD, born on May 23, 2010; DNTT, born on February 14, 2012; DNTT, born on: August 19, 2014; DNTH, born on September 29, 2016; and NTN, born on September 16, 2017.

After the NDT's death in 2018, B and G discussed with each other about forcing D and T to beg for food every day, specifically: From September 2019 to June 2020, G and B forced children D, T, and T to beg for food; every day they had to ask for 900,000 vnd. If it is not enough, then G and B will use their hands, whips, and wires to hit them, use a racket to electrify each person, and starve them. In addition, when child H did not listen to G and B and asked for milk, he was also beaten by G and B, causing injury to D, T, and H. Thus, G was ruthless with his younger brother, B, to abuse and "take care" of his own children by practicing begging.

At this time, grandchild T discussed with grandson D escaping to Mrs. R's house. G knew T's intention, so he and B used his hand and whip to beat T, making T's child hurt and unable to escape. Around the end of June 2020, when children D and T went to beg at KL market, CD district received 100,000 VND. When B and G were not paying attention, the two children got on the bus and escaped to their grandmother's house. They told Mrs. R, and Mrs. R reported the incident to the police."

The court determined:

Forcing grandson D, grandchild T, and great-grandchild T to beg for food and, when they do not receive enough VND 900,000, beating and forcing them to fast not only causes physical pain but also seriously violates their dignity and honor, causing emotional pain for the victim. Therefore, this act of defendants G and B committed the crime of "abusing children," which is specified in Article 185 of the Criminal Code.

Acts of causing injury to child T, grandchild H, and grandchild D when child D was 9 years and 11 months old, child T was 6 years and 9 months old, and child H was 3 years old. Therefore, although the injuries of the victims are all below 11%, the acts of the accused have committed the crime of "intentionally causing injury," specified in Point c, Clause 1, Article 134 of the Criminal Code.

The court's decision: sentenced defendant G: 02 years and 6 months in prison for the crime: "Intentionally causing injury" and 04 years in prison for the crime: "Abusing children". Sentencing defendant B: 03 years in prison for the crime of "Intentionally causing injury" and 05 years in prison for the crime of: "Abusing children".

Thus, despite beating, electrocuting, not feeding, not sending them to school to force their own children and grandchildren to beg every day to earn money for themselves to spend but the mother was only sentenced to 4 years in prison for torturing her child, and the uncle was sentenced to 5 years in prison for torturing her nephew.

The circumstances of this sentence are very similar to the case that caused outrage in society at one time. https://nld.com.vn/phap-luat/bat-giu-nguoi-me-cung-cau-lam-nhung-chuyen-dong-troi-voi-cac-con-chau-20200905092413727.htm

Compared with the current criminal law, the provisions on penalty brackets for acts of abusing children and grandchildren are as follows:

" Article 185. Maltreatment or abuse of one's grandparent, parent, spouse, child, grandchild or caregiver

1. Any person who maltreats or commits violent acts against his/her grandparent, parent, spouse, child, grandchild or caregiver in any of the following circumstances shall receive a warning, face a penalty of up to 03 years' community sentence or 06 - 36 months' imprisonment:

a) The victim suffers from regular physical and mental pain;

b) The offender has incurred an administrative penalty for the same offence.

2. This offence committed in any of the following circumstances carries a penalty of 02 - 05 years' imprisonment:

a) The offence is committed against a person under 16, a woman with the full knowledge of her pregnancy or an old and weak person;

b) The offence is committed against a person with severe or extremely severe disabilities or a person having a fatal disease."

Thus, the penalty for child abuse is only a warning or non-custodial reform for up to three years, or a prison term ranging from six months to five years.

Children are like buds on a branch that need to be protected and cared for, but there are still many parents who see their children as a tool to earn money and a tool to vent in life. Looking back, the law as well as the law enforcers needed to handle these cases very seriously to deter cases where people in the same family but rely on their advantages to torture their loved ones, especially children when they don't know how to protect themselves.

Nguyen Sang

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