Thanks to a reporting system, 5,358 cases of harm to children have been detected and handled over the past two years, an official from China's top procuratorate said on Thursday.
In 2020, the Supreme People's Procuratorate, along with eight other authorities, set up a mandatory system that requires individuals and departments to report anyone suspected of doing harm to children to public security organs.
"The system has played an important role in helping to uncover suspected crimes, and to fight and prevent crime," Na Yanfang, head of the SPP's ninth procuratorial office, told a news conference.
She revealed that the number of reports increased significantly in 2022 by a factor of 1.6 times the total of the previous two years.
"Most reports focus on sexual assault," she said, adding that the issue accounted for nearly 90 percent of reports. Na noted that the system has become an important means for identifying children who are being, or who have been, sexually assaulted.
She cited data that 504 people were held accountable in 2022 for not reporting indications that children were either in danger or were actively being harmed, and called for prosecutors to increase exchange with other authorities to create a more convenient platform for sharing information and handling cases and said that all sectors, especially hotels, should step up efforts to implement the system.
On Thursday, the SPP issued a guideline on dealing with juvenile sexual assault cases together with the Supreme People's Court, the Ministry of Public Security and the Ministry of Justice.
The guideline states that individuals and departments should take measures as quickly as possible if they find children suspected of being sexually assaulted or receive reports to that extent, no matter whether it is their duty to do so or not.
The SPP and SPC also issued a judicial interpretation on fighting the rape and molestation of children on Thursday, specifying situations in which perpetrators should be punished more heavily.
For example, those found guilty of raping left-behind girls under the age of 14, or girls with serious physical or mental disabilities, will face prison terms of more than 10 years, life imprisonment or even the death sentence.
Judicial authorities have pledged to protect children's rights and interests, saying that the two legal documents issued on Thursday will help them step up the fight against those who harm juveniles.