THE Ministry of Social Development and Human Security is keen to improve the Child Protection Act so it benefits children more. The move came after the arrest of a man on Sunday for assaulting his two-year-old stepson, who later died of his injuries in Bangkok's Klong Sam Wa district last week.
The attack was recorded by a surveillance camera and "went viral" on Thai social media.
Child Promotion and Protection Bureau director Supatcha Suthipol said yesterday the agency would wait to see what police investigators find, because Article 26 of the act prohibits a person from abusing a child physically or mentally; offenders can be punished by up to three months in prison and/or a fine of up to Bt30,000 (S$1270), or by other laws for more severe punishment - in this case the criminal code will be used.
Given that many people criticised the Act's light penalties for child abusers, Supatcha said related agencies were discussing amendments and would try to promote the public understanding about the law.
Supatcha cited a 2013 report by the Public Health Ministry that 19,229 abused children sought help at One Stop Crisis Centres (at 300 hospitals); 4,256 were physically abused, 13,226 were sexually abused, while 776 suffered mentally abuse, 647 were abandoned and 324 were exploited.
In regard to the attack on the toddler, stepfather Anont Phimnoo reportedly told police that he had drunk three bottles of rice whisky and the boy kept running in and out of the room so he beat him out of anger. He told others that the boy fell down the stairs, so he sent him for treatment at a hospital, but he then fled to another province.
Anont apologised to the boy's family for what happened. "I love him like my own child. I never hit him before nor verbally threatened anyone," the man told police, adding that he was under stress about being a sole breadwinner and his ex-wife leaving him.
Nimitmai police superintendent Pol Colonel Thanachai Utsahakit said police interrogated another man, seen in the surveillance footage, and recieved useful information on the case
He said Anont had no record of prior crimes and a urine test result came up negative for drug use.