The legislature yesterday approved an amendment to the Criminal Code that is to expand the protection of people under the age of 16 from abuse and enhance the criminal penalties for the perpetrators of such crimes.
The amendments were made in response to an increasing number of reported abuse cases involving children and adolescents.
According to the Child Welfare Bureau at the Ministry of the Interior, the total number of abuse cases involving children and adolescents more than doubled from 7,837 in 2006 to 18,454 in 2010, with some cases resulting in the victim’s death.
The revision of the Criminal Code would cover any mistreatment of those aged 16 or under that impairs their physical and emotional development, rather than pertaining solely to physical abuse, as stipulated in the current legislation.
Violations of the rules would be punishable by a prison sentence of more than five years and a fine of NT$3 million (US$103,000).
Under the previous regulations, offender faced a jail sentence of less than five years, a detention of less than 60 days, or a NT$500 fine.