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Taiwan: Proposal to Increase Punishments for Pedophilia

(May 27, 2010) A recently proposed draft amendment to Taiwan's Sexual Assault Prevention Act would incorporate provisions in the act similar to Florida's 2005 “Jessica's Law” in the United States. “Jessica's Law” (the informal name of legislation named after a young victim of rape and murder, Jessica Lunsford) mandates a “25 years to life mandatory minimum sentence for lewd or lascivious molestation against a victim less than 12 years of age” and “electronic monitoring of specified sex offenders for life.” (State Statutes Related to Jessica's Law, Aug. 2008, The State of Vermont Legislature website, available at
.) Most U.S. states have adopted laws mirroring the Florida statute. (Id.)

Under Taiwan legislator Yang Li-huan's proposal, an adult convicted of molesting or assaulting a minor would automatically be subject to a sentence of 12 to 20 years of imprisonment without parole; if the child were killed, the sentence on conviction would be life imprisonment; if the child were intentionally murdered, the death sentence. Prior convicted offenders would be required to register with a government agency and be subject to electronic monitoring at all times. In addition, the amendment would prescribe the creation of an open-access database, updated twice a year, with information on pedophiles going back ten years. (Jenny W. Hsu, Legislators Call for Harsh Punishment of Pedophiles, TAIWAN NEWS, May 18, 2010, available at
; Legislator's Proposal Would Increase Criminal Responsibility for Child Sexual Assault [in Chinese], CHINA TIMES, May 18, 2010, available at

Yang stated that eight to 10% of sexual battery cases in Taiwan involve minors, with the number of cases increasing by 1,000 annually; according to an officer of Taiwan's Child Welfare League Foundation, Cheng Min-ch'ing, only about 10% of perpetrators are strangers, while about 47% are family members. (Hsu, supra.)