Mandatory reporting system needs more supporting facilities

  In the past September, the deputy principal and security director of a primary school in Jinzhong City, Shanxi Province received administrative warnings and administrative demerits, respectively.

  The reason is that the school remained silent when it was discovered that a student had been domestically abused.

  The final result of this domestic violence was extremely tragic. The child was beaten to death, and the violent father and grandmother were sentenced to death with a suspended death sentence.

  When handling the case, the People’s Procuratorate of Yuci District, Jinzhong City, Shanxi Province found that the school had not reported the child’s condition, so it transferred clues about the school’s violation of discipline and law to the Supervisory Committee for accountability.

The Yuci District Supervisory Committee issued a penalty after investigating. This case became the first case in Shanxi Province where the supervisory committee imposed sanctions for the failure of the relevant responsible person to perform the mandatory reporting system.

  "If the mandatory reporting obligation is actively fulfilled, the police can intervene in time, and this tragedy may be avoided." The prosecutor handling the case once said.

  The so-called compulsory report means that when clues that minors have suffered or are suspected of being illegally violated are found, they should immediately report the case or report to the public security organ.

On the eve of Children’s Day in 2020, China issued the “Opinions on Establishing a Compulsory Reporting System for Violations of Minors (Trial)” (hereinafter referred to as “Opinions”), stipulating that reporters include schools, hospitals, hotels, etc. and minors. People working in closely related industries.

  Since the implementation of the "Opinions" for more than a year, relevant cases have begun to appear in various places.

In Hangzhou, a 14-year-old girl was molested by school security twice.

After she told the teacher, the teacher privately signed a compensation agreement with the student's family and the security guard, and the girl reported the case herself.

In the end, the teacher was suspended for the first evaluation, promotion and promotion qualifications because he knew that he would not report.

Two elementary school teachers in Hunan have raped 9 underage women over a period of 19 years, including 8 underage girls under the age of 14.

As early as 2017, a parent reported the situation to the school, but the principal did not report it, causing the two teachers to continue to commit crimes many times.

After the incident, the vice-principal of the correction was dealt with in accordance with the law for dereliction of duty.

  When these cases were publicized one after another, Xu Fuhai, an associate researcher at the Policy Research Center of the Ministry of Civil Affairs, completed two papers on the development of mandatory reporting in China and the United States.

He has conducted research in many places and found that the implementation of mandatory reporting in China requires the establishment of relevant implementation policies, supporting mechanisms, and coordination mechanisms.

  "Issuing an'opinion' is just the beginning." He imagined the future of mandatory reporting to China Youth Daily and China Youth Daily reporters: He hopes that more groups will become "mandatory reporters" to minimize child abuse and harm.

  In Linxi County, Chifeng City, Inner Mongolia, the front desk of each hotel is placed with a warning sign saying "It is forbidden for minors to check in alone without a guardian." The hotel operator and staff sign a letter of responsibility and a letter of commitment for accepting minors.

In the past two years, the People's Procuratorate of Linxi County has never accepted cases of sexual assault of minors in hotels, and cases of sexual assault of minors have dropped by 45% over the same period.

  An intelligent information system is used in Huzhou, Zhejiang. If an adult brings a minor into a hotel, the system can check the information of both parties. Once the non-guardian or non-relative relationship is determined, it will immediately issue an early warning to the police.

  According to the Supreme People’s Procuratorate’s statistics, the “Opinions” were implemented for three months, and nearly 500 cases were filed and reviewed and prosecuted through mandatory reports across the country.

  The clues reported include a variety of illegal acts against minors. As of May 2021, Jiangsu Procuratorate has received a total of 276 compulsory reporting clues involving sexual assault, abandonment, abuse, intentional injury, and intentional killing.

  Reporters come from multiple departments.

Since 2021, the People’s Procuratorate of Hunan Province has discovered and investigated 56 criminal cases against minors through the mandatory reporting system, including 26 reports from schools, 17 reports from medical institutions, and 11 reports from other organizations and public officials exercising public power. , 1 report from a social work organization, 1 report from a hotel.

  However, prosecutors in many places still report that the implementation of the mandatory reporting system still has problems such as low awareness and concerns of reporters.

  Zhou Rui, director of the Sixth Prosecution Department of the People's Procuratorate of Guangyuan City, Sichuan Province, once visited hospitals at the township level.

At the health center, many doctors told him that he had never heard of it.

  Zhou Rui sorted out the cases of sexual assault of minors that occurred in Guangyuan City from January 2019 to April 2020, and found that a quarter of the cases occurred in hotels and hotels.

In April 2020, he had a discussion with more than 30 hotel operators.

  Some people complained at the meeting that the perpetrators would not go to strictly managed star-rated hotels, and preferred to take minors to family hotels, which had few employees and was difficult to manage.

A case of infringement of the rights of minors occurred in one of the hotels.

The operator recalled that it was an adult who registered the identity information at the front desk, and the minor involved in the case slipped into the hotel through the back door.

  After hearing the decision, Zhou Rui wrote suggestions to promote the fine management of hotel public security in Guangyuan City.

Later, the Guangyuan City Public Security Bureau issued a notice that once it was discovered that a minor was staying in a hotel alone, or that the minor female was drunk before moving in, the hotel must report to the local police station.

  Since the release of the "Opinions", Zhou Rui's statistics show that the rate of mandatory reporting in Guangyuan City has been increasing, while the number of cases of sexual assault of minors has declined. The only case involving failure to perform mandatory reporting responsibilities occurred in a hotel. There was no report after the person was drunk, resulting in the minor being sexually assaulted.

  Zhou Rui suggested that the public security organs should punish the hotel in accordance with relevant laws and regulations, and support the victim to prosecute the infringer, making the hotel a joint and several responsible person.

  The lack of a strong willingness to "report" troubles Xu Jin, director of the Eighth Procuratorate of the People's Procuratorate of Nantong City, Jiangsu Province.

Schools are faced with the evaluation pressure of the education system and are unwilling to take the initiative to report negative information; there are also parents who worry about the impact on their children's reputation after reporting the crime.

  A local underage female was pregnant, but the doctor did not report it.

Xu Jin grabbed the case and interviewed the medical staff of the hospital involved in the case and many other hospitals, and found that the staff of the Nantong Municipal Health Commission did not send their "opinions" to all units in time, so that almost all medical staff in the city did not know about the mandatory report. The system has been implemented.

  She immediately served the public interest litigation pre-litigation procuratorial advice to the Health Commission, and this "loophole" was blocked in time.

  In a paper "Study on the Issues of Compulsory Reporting of Violation of Minors", the author's survey of some elementary school teachers in Hangzhou showed that only 26% of teachers would directly report to the police when they found clues about infringement of minors, and 33% would report to their superiors. Department; 80% of teachers believe that reporting to the police or reporting to the competent department will increase the severity of the situation and bring about adverse effects.

  In May 2021, the Supreme People’s Procuratorate implemented a mandatory “whether to report” mechanism for every case of infringement of minors, and more “rigidly” restrained the responsible unit or personnel’s “non-reporting” behavior. If serious consequences are caused, it will be directed to the department. Imposing penalties and imposing sanctions on the staff constitutes the investigation of criminal responsibility for violations and crimes.

  In rural areas, the main reporters after children have been violated include child directors, most of whom are women directors of the village committee or village directors.

Xu Fuhai’s research found that most of the matters reported by these “directors” were related to sexual assault and serious bodily injury, and rarely reported minors’ long-term ineffective supervision or neglect. “Some rural residents don’t think neglect is a form of abuse.” .

  He tried to persuade them that if the child director finds that parents are neglecting and indifferent to minors, causing serious psychological trauma, he should report it.

A children's director once retorted on the spot that this is a family chore and should not be "nosy."

What's more, mental abuse of minors is more difficult to identify than external injuries.

  Zhou Rui said that many places lack professionals who can provide psychological counseling to young people, especially in rural areas, where some minors have to go to urban areas to receive psychological treatment after being violated.

  One scholar felt that more supporting measures are needed to protect minors who have already been violated.

  For example, some places lack temporary settlement points for minors, and the rescued children can only be temporarily placed in the police station and sent to the police station to take care of them.

It didn't take long for the child to "turn up the sky" and the police station could only urge the civil affairs department to "hurry up and take people away."

  During Xu Fuhai's study visit to the United States, he could not leave his 11-year-old son alone at home, and he dared not have injuries on his body.

  The researcher who has lived in China for a long time is used to hearing that "upright officials are hard to break housework", but found that Americans like to "stare at their neighbors." When they hear the beating and crying next door, they will report immediately, even the convenience store clerk, When restaurant waiters find clues that violate children while working, they will also take the initiative to report them.

  At the end of the 19th century, a large number of child abuse incidents occurred in the United States, and a mandatory reporting and feedback mechanism was established in the second half of the 20th century.

Xu Fuhai regards China's improvement of the mandatory reporting system as a protracted battle, "it will not happen overnight, it may take several years or more than ten years of hard work."

  Zheng Ziyin, director of Guangdong Nuochen (Baiyun) Law Firm, remembered a case in which a citizen found that the child next door always sleeps in the corridor at night, so he found a lawyer and social worker.

Later, the police and the street office intervened to help the abused child.

  Regarding that "opinion", Zheng Ziyin felt that the word "suspected" was the most special.

This means that reporters can report as long as they find "suspected" clues, without worrying about being blamed for reporting wrong clues.

  He often went to school to preach. Before the "Opinions" were published, the teacher's favorite questions were "What should I report?" and "What should I do if I report errors." Right now, the answers can be found in the "Opinions".

  He also advocated rewarding positive reporters. The Education Bureau of a certain district of Guangzhou City received a "reward letter" from the procuratorate for actively reporting relevant clues.

The same reward was reported by the Nantong City Procuratorate. Netizens found videos suspected of sexually assaulting minors on the Internet, took the initiative to report to the public security organs, and received a cash reward of 5,000 yuan from the Procuratorate.

  Zheng Ziyin concluded that China's mandatory reporting system "started late and progressed quickly".

An academic analyzed that in China, the promotion of a mandatory reporting system relied more on legal propaganda; while the United States initially relied on more and more cases.

  So far, the United States has issued at least 20 major regulations for children.

Medical personnel, preschool education, police, and social service personnel are also included in the scope of mandatory reporters, and a nationwide hotline for children’s help has also been set up.

  Canada, Australia, South Africa, India and many other countries have passed legislation to establish mandatory reporting systems. Some countries’ systems not only target children, but also include elderly people who are suspected of being abused or neglected, and those who are unable to take care of themselves.

  In attempts and explorations, many countries have introduced new measures.

Canada stipulates that for clues involving child pornography, the reporter can be "anyone" and is not limited to a specific occupation.

Sweden completely prohibits corporal punishment, and physical punishment of children by parents may constitute abuse.

  In some states of Australia, children witnessing domestic violence, causing serious psychological harm and also constitute child abuse, require mandatory reporting; some states require that mandatory reporting of cases is not limited to past and ongoing cases, but also includes possible future occurrences Cases of abuse or neglect.

  Few people know the origin of the mandatory reporting system.

  In 1873, in New York, a girl named Mary was "poor as a small animal." Her adoptive mother would often beat and scold her for no reason, making her hungry and doing rough work.

She slept on the cold floor and was also locked in a dark cabinet. She was not allowed to go out or talk to other people.

  The neighbor asked the priest to visit the house, only to discover Mary's secret.

After the pastor reported the case, he couldn't open the case because of lack of relevant laws, so he had to ask for help everywhere.

  Finally, the Society for the Protection of Animals intervened in this child abuse incident.

They filed a judicial lawsuit on the grounds that "children are also animals" and demanded sanctions on adoptive mothers in accordance with the Law on Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.

Following the testimony of a neighbor, the adoptive mother was sentenced to one year in prison.

  Mary was later raised by the pastor who was actively reporting. She and her husband raised 6 children and lived to be 92 years old.

She was born in New York, and because of her case, the first American Association for the Prevention of Child Abuse was established.

  China Youth Daily · China Youth Daily reporter Wei Xi Source: China Youth Daily

Keywords: reporting system, xu fuhai, minors, reporters, school, security director, warnings, shanxi province, clues, case, domestic violence school, demerits, teachers, student, zheng ziyin