Vietnamese police said on August 21 they are seeking to confirm accusations made by residents and social groups that a 10 year-old boy has been receiving regular beatings from his stepmother and father.
Local residents in in the central Vietnamese province of Binh Dinh reported that Nguyen Anh Toan was again beaten by his stepmother, Phan Thi Kieu Diem, 22, on August 20.
Le Thi Nhu Thanh, a former member of the women's association in the province, said, "Toan has been beaten by his stepmother for more than three years."
She said that social groups have repeatedly brought Diem before the community, making her sign promises to stop beating Toan, including after the latest incident on Monday.
"But she's stuck in her ways. Every time the neighbors intervened, the boy was beaten even more afterward," Thanh said.
"If the accusations are accurate, we will deal with the case according to the law, or at least take steps to stop the abuse from happening again," said Lieutenant Colonel Vo Ba Hanh, a senior police officer from Quy Nhon, the province's capital city.
Toan has never been enrolled in school and is completely illiterate. He is emaciated and has many scars, including one around two centimeters long on his head.
Vendors at a local market said Toan showed up there every day, always with fresh injuries.
The boy was reportedly terrified to expose his parents' abuse. He cried while explaining that he had "earned" his injuries for being "careless."
The parents said they had beaten the boys as he was "stubborn."
Toan is staying with a neighbor and local social groups said they are preparing documents to send him to a nearby SOS center.
Figures from the Ministry of Public Security show that nearly 7,900 cases of child abuse were reported nationwide between 2006 and 2010, 60 percent of which involved sexual abuse.
Recent headlines have included the story of a 13-year-old boy in Ninh Thuan Province who was chained and beaten incessantly by his father, and reports of a three-year-old boy who was hospitalized in Ho Chi Minh City with a torn liver and damaged testicles after being thrashed by his stepfather.
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