Abused children - what can we do?

Dear Hartzell,
I saw a topic about abused kids on tealit and thought you might know where one can find help, or which course of action should be taken.
A lot of foreigners out there don’t seem to give a damn and seem to think that this is the “Taiwanese way of doing things”.
Any advise?

What gave you that idea? Did you do some kind of survey?

Hey! Just take a look at Tealit, okay, before stomping on the warpath?

Well, I’ve just had a look over that forum on TEALIT (On child abuse and some people’s perspectives) - it doesn’t look to me like the people posting there don’t care about the problem - far from it! Only that there are some differing opinions about how to deal with it.

One item of interest in the forum is the idea that Taiwanese children may be either completely spoiled or abused. One day on a train to Keelung I saw a mother stuffing food into the mouth of her very obese son. Clearly, the mother was satisfying some kind of psychological need of her own, not her son’s hunger. I saw a similar scene once in Naples, Italy, where a woman was force-feeding a screaming baby with ice cream. Would that fall under the category of spoiling or abuse…or both? I would say it was abuse, for sure. I didn’t intervene in either case. Should I have?

That reminds me of the time I had a bit part in a local movie starring Hao Shaowen, the child actor known for his chubbiness and apparent willingness to display his “Xiao Di-di” on camera. At lunchtime, this 7 or 8 yr old kid is fed by his mother and when he protests that he is full after polishing off one bian dang, she scolds him and forces him to eat another one. Clearly she knew that his fat gut was her meal ticket, and if he ever got healthy, they would lose income. Apparently skinny Taiwanese kids aren’t as cute and funny as fat ones. The kid was weird too. Blank, glazed over expression, except when the cameras were rolling and then he became super exaggerated in all of his movements and speech. That kid is going to be in need of counselling in a few years when he realizes that girls aren’t interested in lard-asses. Wonder how mommy dearest is going to fill his needs then? :unamused: :astonished:

You mean the kid who plays the little monk? He must be in his early teens by now.

How about that shy little orphan boy Iruan Ergui Wu from Brazil who was so blatantly manipulated by his Taiwanese uncle in front of the news cameras? He was put to work soon enough, making money for his Taiwanese relatives by appearing in TV ads. A few months ago, Taiwan’s news media were buzzing around the boy like a swarm of bluebottles - Now the whole story seems to have been forgotten. I guess the boy is still in Taiwan and his grandmother is sitting helpless over in Brazil - anybody know?

I read through the tealit forum at

If you want to do something, I suppose you could volunteer to do various services at local orphanages, or in Sunday Schools, etc., although technically such volunteer services, for those without an ESA Article 51 work permit (of categories 1,2,4, or 5) is illegal.

I think maybe Firewolf was asking what we could do to help a child who we suspect might be abused. Is there an agency here (like Child Protective Services in the US) where we could report suspected abuse? Or a number people can call?

There is always the worry though, that people will make reports that end up doing more harm than good. I happen to know an American family with three very active girls. They each had broken arms from falling off of trees, jungle gyms. The youngest at the time that I met them was only four and had her arm in a cast for the second time. If I didn’t know the parents were very gentle people, I might have suspected abuse.

I think rather than looking for an agency to call, the teachers who really want to help should look at what happens at the schools where they work and see how they can help change things.

My Taipei Baby

Originally posted by Hartzell: ...you could volunteer...

Anybody interested in volunteer work with young people might be interested in my girlfriend’s organisation, the Nook Care Association. It provides employment training in catering, plus creative activities like dance and drama, for high school students with learning difficulties.

Now Richard has got me worried that I might get deported for helping them out with washing dishes, wiping the tables and other such illicit work. Even worse, I am teaching one of the girls Hanyu pinyin as a first step towards learning English and she pays me a whole pot of tea each time. To be sure, if the Taiwan authorities decide they want any foreigner off the island, they can probably find something we are doing that is illegal.

Nook Care Association (Jiaoluo Guanhuai Xiehui),
3F, No. 12, Sec. 3, Chengde Rd., Datong Dist., Taibei 103
Tel: 02-2599 4235
Fax: 02-2586 7049
(Over the footbridge from Minquan MRT station on the Danshui Line)

Note: Most of the people there can’t speak much English.

The association runs a cafe on the ground floor at the same address - see some photos on http://www.bigmap.net/food/coffee/26.htm

My girlfriend also has connections with a lot of philanthropic organisations related to disabled people etc. One of the well-known child welfare organisations, concerned principally with preventing child prostitution, is the Garden of Hope Foundation. Its bilingual web site is at http://www.goh.org.tw/

I just read that topic. Is your question what to do if/when we someone beating their child?

I agree that we should do something. What are the options? Call the police? Physically try and stop it? Verbally intervene? Start beating on the beater?

I don’t really know. I think if your Chinese skills are less than superb any verbal interference in such a volatile situation is difficult. I wonder if calling the police is much use. Maybe. At least in Taiwan, unlike some countries, people do seem to get charged with abuse. I guess a natural response would be to physically intervene, but I’m thinking maybe that would make matters worse if the attacker took it out on the child later.

Yeah, I’ve found that to be the case. So many of the people here (at least those who are in a position to do something) just look the other way and insist that the parents are “strict”. Other teachers have told me to just accept it, but I can’t; giving a kid a black eye isn’t “strict parenting”, it’s a lack of control, the very thing that this parent likely prides himself on. At least at home, there was a semi-effective public service designed to deal with this sort of thing!

It’s not what you see that’s important, rather what you don’t see. Ask any priest.

A friend of mine who teaches at a local kindergarten/buxiban told me a horror story yesterday.

Three children in her school (siblings) are systematically beaten, burned, and flogged by their mother. The older child recently came to school with blood blisters running down his back from where his mother poured scalding water on him.
The younger children cry and scream when the mother comes to pick them up after school and come to school daily with new bruises and bite marks.

Everyone at the school knows about it, Chinese and foreign staff alike, and the mother has been spoken to on numerous occassions and her reaction is ‘just take them, i don’t want them’. Yet not a soul has done anything further, claiming that ‘nothing can be done about it’.

What happens to abused children here if their parents are reported to the police? Can they take them away? Are there shelters or foster care facilities in Taiwan? Are there organisations or human interest groups to advise in such matters? Will these kids continue to be abused until the mother kills one of them? Why are people so apathetic toward this in Taiwan? With all the family values touted around this place, how could a country be so backward in its protection of children?

What can the foreign teachers do, if the Chinese staff prefer to turn a blind eye to this matter? Supposedly, this school is illegal, and this may be one of the reasons that the matter has been neglected so long. How greedy can people be at the mercy of these 3 children’s welfare?

The story sickens me to my soul. What kind of society do we live in that has such a poor system of handling such cases?

I even rang the police to ask for advice, but they only told me that the mother should be reported and they would handle it. That sounded iffy to me. The police are notoriously inept in most issues, why would child protection be different?
If someone at that school decided to throw caution to the wind and allow the police to intervene, what can we expect to be done about this case?
I hope someone has some answers.


This breaks my heart. There are some orphanages here. The kids aren’t orphans but if the mother says “take them”, maybe someone at an orphanage can help with finding a home for abused children.

Here are some numbers out of my Taipei Living book:

Cathwell Service (children’s halfway home)

Christian Salvation Services (baby orphanage)

Holy Word Children’s Home

Lourdes home

St. Anne’s Orphanage

I would suggest to your friend that he/she call one or more of these places for advice. Start with Christian Salvation Services. The founder has been here a very long time and I think her husband is an atty but I’m not sure.

Good luck, and keep us posted on any progress if you can.


[quote=“jrc”]St. Anne’s Orphanage

This one will not likely be much help in the situation Alien described. St. Anne’s provides a home and care to terminally ill and severely retarded children, many with debilitating physical defects.

Its a great organization, but Cathwell would probably be more able to assist, in the above situation.

Alien, there is an official child protection agency in Taiwan. Unfortunately I don’t even know their name, let alone have contact information. When my friend was trying to do something about a case of child abuse a while back he got referred to them. Aparrently they are a better bet than contacting the police. I think if you hunted them down and gave them the details, they would check it out, but I’m not sure if you’d get results if the school wasn’t cooperative. I would try them anyway.


Thanks Bri and everyone.
If you could get the name of that place, I’ll be sure my friend gets it. I forwarded the other information to her already.
I’m only hoping someone at that school will do something before those kids suffer even harsher cruelties.
If it were my students, I would not stand by, even if it meant jeopardising my job. That’s the thing that gets me. How greedy and uncaring can people be to just sit and watch this shit go on in front of them and not even try to intervene?
It makes me wonder just how much child abuse there is on this fair island.
Sometimes I think partially, the role of us foreigners here, is to educate the Taiwanese on how to care for their own society, whether it’s animals, abuse of children and women, the environment…etc.
Taiwan has a “dark ages” mentality in this respect, no matter how technologically advanced they may be, this shows me it’s still just a third world country.:frowning:

What do you say to a child who comes to school with a black eye and says that it’s from falling down outside? What do you tell a child who is in tears because if you don’t give him a new copy of the vocabulary list his mother is going to slap him? To the mother who tells her kid that if she doesn’t eat all of her lunch then she’s not going to pick her up from school so that the child is tearfully trying to force her lunch down against the will of her stomach? What can you say to these children or parents? Not many of us are teachers back home and even those of us who are, have different rules for reporting abuse in our home countries than there are available here.

Here’s an other story…I was once a private tutor for 3 kids of a well off family. They all went to the most expensive private schools in Taipei city, but told me that they get beaten up by their teachers for not having high enough grades, for not sleeping at noon, for not eating up their biandangs or other similar situations. I thought it would be my duty to tell their mother about this abuse, since they said she wouldn’t know. The result was, that the kids got beaten up by their mother, because they had told me. So what can u really do as an outsider, if kids are being abused? If you accuse the teachers, the kids get beaten by them, for telling somebody. If you tell the parents, the kid gets beaten for telling an outsider…Isn’t that kind of frustrating?

An other situation: I was invited at a Taiwanese wedding, since my boyfriend was the grooms witness. While he was decorating the cars outside a fat little boy got beating up by his father with his leather belt for being nauty. All the other people where laughing and thought he deserved it. What can u do if u witness something like this? They wouldn’t understand why u intervene…

Does Garden of Hope take donations of maternity clothing for the women and baby/children’s clothes?