Sex offenses by teachers in Taiwan rise eightfold in 10 years: MOE

40 teachers fired for sex offenses, 83 cases of sexual assault reported in Taiwan each year

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(Photo from Pexels)

(Photo from Pexels)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) -- Taiwan has seen an eightfold increase in cases of sexual assault committed by teachers in the nation's schools, while sexual harassment cases have risen by 16 times over the past 10 years, according to the Ministry of Education (MOE).

The MOE says that there have been 40 teachers dismissed every year in junior-high, senior-high, and vocational schools for sexual assault and sexual harassment. The ministry said that in 2018, there were 83 cases of suspected sexual assault and 588 cases of sexual harassment allegedly perpetrated by teachers nationwide.

Since 2008, the number of reported cases of sexual assault perpetrated by teachers has risen by eight times, while the number of incidents of sexual harassment allegedly committed by instructors has risen by a staggering 16 times, according to MOE data.

Lin Liang-ching (林良慶), head of the K-12 Education Administration Division of Student Affairs and Campus Security told Liberty Times that the power dynamic between teachers and students in uneven. Even if a student believes they are in love with a teacher, the instructor must properly observe the boundary lines.

When it comes to teacher and student "romances," Lin said "wolf [sexual predator] teachers are wolf teachers, there is no such thing as teacher-student love." Lin explained to Liberty Times that according to Article 21 of the the Gender Equity Education Act (性別平等教育法), the Assault Crime Prevention Act (性侵害犯罪防治法), the Protection of Children and Youths Welfare and Rights Act (兒童及少年福利與權益保障法), and the People with Disabilities Rights Protection Act (身心障礙者權益保障法), principals, teachers, staff members, or workers who are aware of suspected on-campus sexual abuse, sexual harassment, or sexual bullying should inform the competent authorities in schools and local municipalities directly under the central government within 24 hours.

In addition, schools should deal with sexual harassment or sexual bullying as soon as possible in accordance with the relevant provisions of the the Regulations on the Prevention of Sexual Assault, Sexual Harassment, and Sexual Bullying on Campus (校園性侵害性騷擾或性霸凌防治準則). According to Article 14 of the Teachers' Act (教師法), the school employing a teacher accused of a sexual offense can suspend that instructor within one month from receiving notice of such an offense without the approval of a competent educational administrative organ, and await an investigation.

If the offense is confirmed by the school's gender equality education committee or a relevant committee, the case will be submitted to the competent educational administrative body for approval of the dismissal.

Lin also explained to the newspaper that before hiring teachers, the Gender Equity Education Act stipulates that schools must confirm that they have no criminal records of sexual assault. Lin said that new draft regulations will also require schools to investigate whether prospective teachers have not only had a history of sexual assault, but also sexual harassment or bullying, and that current teachers should be subject to regular inquiries for such behavior.