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Zhang Yan and Chen Mengwei
Friday, May 30, 2014

Asia

Lack of sex education behind child abuse cases: Experts

China Daily/ANN | Zhang Yan and Chen Mengwei | Friday, May 30, 2014

Legal experts said a lack of awareness among minors, parental negligence and flawed safety systems are often to blame for the sexual abuse of minors.

In China, few parents are aware of the importance of sex education, and often wait until their children are 14 or 15 years old, said Hong Daode, a law professor at China University of Political Science and Law.

Schools only offer physical health classes rather than opening sex education courses, and most minor victims lack awareness of how to protect themselves, he said.

"Because of the lack of sex education, some juveniles may not even realise they have been sexually abused, and don't report to local police," he said.

Between 2010 and 2013, national prosecutors accused 8,069 suspects of obscene behaviour involving minors in 7,963 cases, and have charged 255 people with sexually abusing young girls in 150 cases.

Meanwhile, 121 suspects have been prosecuted for luring young girls to participate in prostitution, according to numbers released by the Supreme People's Procuratorate.

Shi Weizhong, deputy director of the top prosecuting department, said 70 per cent of the victims were under 14, most of them from the families of migrant workers or a single-parent family.

"Some parents, particularly migrant workers, are too busy to supervise and properly protect their children," he said.

Shi said rapists are usually acquainted with the victims - a neighbour, family friend or stepfather, for instance - and many cases involve repeated abuse over a long period of time.

He criticised loopholes in school safety, saying that schools failed to conduct regular patrols and didn't equip dormitories with protective measures, thereby presenting criminals with opportunities to enter.

"Many sexual assaults occurred in classrooms and dormitories," he said. "Some even happened at a teacher's podium."

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