Ban to help protect kids from sexual predators

Updated: 2013-10-25 00:16

By Cao Yin (China Daily)

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Civil servants, teachers and guardians specially targeted in new legislation

Those who sexually assault minors will be banned from working with juveniles and from going to schools and places where children gather during their probation, the top court said on Thursday.

The rule is part of a legal document that also stipulates harsher punishment for those who sexually assault minors under 12 and for civil servants, guardians and teachers who sexually assault minors.

"Such a ban mainly aims to prevent them from sexually assaulting minors during probation," said Zhou Feng, chief judge of the criminal department with the Supreme People's Court, adding that some provinces have developed pilot programs for the ban.

He did not describe how such an order would be carried out.

He said similar bans have been used in economic crimes and domestic violence, and those who disobey the order will be returned to prison immediately.

Sun Jungong, a spokesman for the top court, said courts across the country should be careful ordering probation for sex-related crimes.

Tong Lihua, director of the Beijing Youth Legal Aid and Research Center, said enforcing the ban is crucial and requires other judicial departments to be effective.

"Workers in the criminal correction centers can provide supervision, handing in the convicts' performance reports to courts," said Xi Xiaohua, director of Capital Normal University's Juvenile Legal Social Work Research Center.

"But it's impossible to build a 24-hour monitoring system to follow these convicts. In this case, how to prevent them from sexually assaulting children around schools is a challenge," she added.

The rate of sex criminals re-offending is higher than other offenders, according to Xiong Jing, a media monitor for a women's network.

"In domestic violence cases, women can apply to the courts for a protection order, similar to the ban, but it's hard to enforce and few judges make the order," she said.

Wang Haiping, a lawyer at Hao Dong Law Firm, said the biggest difficulty is how to stop criminals from sexually assaulting children after their release.

Courts, prosecuting authorities and public security bureaus should establish juvenile departments to deal with sexual assaults related to children, according to the top court's statement.

Officers should not drive police cars or wear police uniforms when investigating schools and homes of juveniles, Sun said.

Sun Ping, deputy director of the legal department with the Ministry of Public Security, said they have encouraged provincial police bureaus to set up special teams to handle juvenile cases and protect privacy during investigations.

Since 2011, the ministry has established 220,000 police units in primary and middle schools across the country, she said.

"We pay a lot of attention to migrant workers' children and kids from single-parent families," she said.

In addition, the top court said that people with special duties, including civil servants and guardians, who sexually assault minors must be heavily punished.

Yang Yao contributed to this story.

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