Taipei, July 4 (CNA) Taiwan has launched its first-ever study of institutional sexual assault cases against children and teens, with the aim of tackling the issue more effectively and reducing these crimes, Control Yuan President Chen Chu (陳菊) said on Monday.
"To understand the structural factors of the problem, the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) under the Control Yuan has kicked off a campaign to find out the reasons for these offenses," Chen said at a news conference alongside Control Yuan members Chang Chu-fang (張菊芳) and Tien Chiu-chin (田秋堇).
Citing Ministry of Health and Welfare statistics, Chen said police reported 7,787 sexual assault cases across Taiwan last year, with 4,520 of them involving victims under 18.
In line with the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, a national report showed that in 2020, 233 victims were sexually abused or attacked at elementary or high schools in Taiwan, she said.
Due to numerous cases of sexual assault being committed against minors and juveniles, especially in schools and other institutes, the NHRC is seeking to explore the various factors for the problem in Taiwan through written and oral interviews, she said.
"We must find out under what circumstances these assaults occurred to understand what is wrong in our systems, instead of just carrying out investigation on individual cases," she said.
The findings will be used to help government agencies address the issue and reduce the occurrences of these assaults, Chen said.
Tien called child and juvenile victims of sexual abuse "survivors" and said she knew it was not easy for them to speak out about their experiences.
According to Chang, they plan to interview 500 victims of sexual abuse at halfway houses or schools -- 100 in face-to-face meetings and 400 through writing and telephone interviews.
The NHRC plans to speak to both child and juvenile victims and grown-ups older than 18 who experienced a sexual assault as a child or teenager, and intends to finalize the investigation by July next year, Chang said.