Three lawmakers across party lines drew attention Friday to a growing incidence of reported child abuse in Taiwan, and they urged the government to give greater priority and attention to the issue.
Speaking at a press conference on the eve of International Children's Rights Day, legislators Claire Wang (???), Lo Mei-ling (???) and Chiu Chen-yuan (???) joined with local children's rights groups to highlight the rise in reported child abuse cases and some of the contributing factors.
New Power Party lawmaker Wang, who chairs a children's rights group in the Legislature, said Taiwan clearly has no systems in place to protect children, far less to guarantee their rights in accordance with the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, which Taiwan has adopted in its own form.
Wang, who entered politics after her 4-year-old daughter was killed in a gruesome murder in 2016, said the U.N. convention calls for the protection of children from harm and exploitation, but child abuse cases have continued to rise in Taiwan in recent years.
Expanding on Wang's comments, Chiu of Taiwan People's Party and vice-chair of the legislative children's rights group, said the Ministry of Health and Welfare last year reported 82,000 cases that required child protection services, compared with about 72,000 in 2019.
In 2020, the number of reported child abuse cases in Taiwan reached over 12,000, which was a clear indication that the government needed to do much more to protect children, he said.
Democratic Progressive Party Legislator Lo, the other vice-chair of the group, said it was regrettable to see the rise in child abuse cases, and she implored the government to give greater attention to the issue.
Due to the advancement of the internet, child-abuse in Taiwan has extended to sex exploitation of minors, she said.
Meanwhile, Control Yuan member Wang Mei-yu (???) on Friday released a report that showed an increase in child abuse cases in Taiwan, despite a drop in the children's population.
While Taiwan's population of children fell by 427,000 between 2015 and 2020, the number of reported child abuse cases jumped from approximately 42,000 in 2014 to 66,000 in 2020, with confirmed cases totaling 12,000 last year, according to the report.
Of the 43 major child abuse cases documented from 2019 to April last year, 90 percent were in families that had long records of such reports and had been visited by social workers, Wang said.
Unfortunately, the current safety net designed by the government has proved ineffective in helping to protect children, and some of those major cases ended in tragedy, she said.
The work being carried out by social workers on the frontlines of the issue is a "mess," Wang said, calling on the government to give greater priority to the problems and rectify them, so as to guarantee the safety of all children in the country.
Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel