Two sessions’ report highlights 2016 child abuse findings

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The China Foundation of Culture and Arts for Children and the Girls’ Protection Fund teamed up with Phoenix Charity to hold the 2017 annual forum on girls’ protection for members of the “Two Sessions” (China’s two parliaments which meet every year in March) at Beijing’s Jingshi Law Firm. During the meeting, the Girl’s Protection Fund released their 2016 report on child sexual abuse in China. Below are some of the report’s most interesting findings.

The research found that during 2016 there were 433 reported cases of child abuse, which represents a 30% increase from the previous year. Out of the 778 victims in 2016, 719 were underage girls, representing 92% of all reported sexual abuse cases. The vast majority of perpetrators were men. In addition, more than 75% of all cases of child abuse occurred in rural areas.

A more in-depth analysis shows that out of the 778 underage girl victims during 2016, 57% were between the ages of 12 and 14, 18% were between the ages of 7 and 12 and 16% were younger than 7, with even a few under two years old. The data shows that girls aged 12-14 are the most vulnerable group of sexual abuse victims. Aside from this, the report points out that almost 70% of victims reported that the perpetrator was someone they knew.

The report goes on to explain that while social response to child abuse has increased in recent years, the level of public attention towards the issue still falls short. Furthermore, the report also reveals a lack of sexual abuse prevention education in Chinese households, with only two-thirds of households reporting to have taught their children about sexual abuse prevention. Additionally, a survey in the report concluded that 97% of Chinese parents hoped that their children could learn more about sexual abuse at school, with 87% of parents supporting specialized organizations to visit their children’s school and teach preventative measures.

Li Yi, the director of the Center for Gender Development, spoke at the event, saying that “victims of sexual abuse still face four barriers. The first is the imperfection of the legal system. The second is the low institutional capacity for handling sexual abuse cases. The third are the obstacles that children and parents face themselves. And the final obstacle is social prejudice towards this issue. Society needs to work together to break down the obstacles surrounding sexual abuse.”