TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – Taiwan’s lawmakers passed Criminal Code amendments on Friday (May 10) that impose harsher penalties on child abusers.
The amended Article 286 of the Criminal Code provides that a child abuser will be subject to a sentence of life or more than 10 years, if the offense results in the death of the abused. Where a child is seriously injured, the penalty will be imprisonment of five to 12 years.
For offenses that impair the health or development of a child, physically or mentally, the offender will face imprisonment of six months to not more than five years.
The age of minors protected by Article 286 was amended from 16 to 18 years of age.
Penalties are also increased for offenders who intend to make a profit from abusing children. The offense carries a minimum five-year sentence and a fine of not more than NT$3 million (US$96,890).
Where a minor is seriously injured, the offender will be subject to no less than 10 years imprisonment. If a minor dies as a result of the abuse, the penalty will be 12 years to life imprisonment.
Article 10 of the Criminal Code was also amended to define “abuse” as: “To harm another in any way that is forcible, violent or inhumane.”
Although legislators agreed on harsher penalties, they did not agree whether or not to impose the death penalty on child abusers, or to allow them to apply for parole.
Child abuse has become a cause for concern in Taiwan in recent years. One high-profile case involved a 4-year-old girl who was nearly beheaded by a 33-year-old man in front of the child’s mother, in 2016.
Legislative Speaker Su Jia-chyuan (蘇嘉全) described the amendment as a Mother’s Day gift. “A child’s smile is something worth defending” by all means possible, said Su. It is a responsibility to be shouldered by the government and every adult alike.