Child abandonment occurs when a child is knowingly or secretly left behind by his or her parent or guardian, without any regard for the child’s physical health, safety or well-being and with the intention of completely abandoning the child to willingly renounce parental responsibility.
According to the Child Protection Act B.E. 2546 (2003), guardians of a child are forbidden to act as follows:
1. Abandon a child at a nursery or healthcare facility, or with a person employed to look after the child, or at a public place or any other place, with the intention of not taking him or her back;
2. Neglect a child at any place without arranging for appropriate safety protection or care;
3. Deliberately or neglectfully withhold from a child things that are necessary for sustaining the child’s life or health, to an extent which seems likely to cause physical or mental harm to the child;
4. Treat a child in ways or manners which hinder his or her growth or development;
5. Treat a child in ways or manners which constitute unlawful caring.
What are the causes of child abandonment?
Some of the primary causes of child abandonment include:
λ unwanted or unplanned pregnancy
λ poor parenting skills
λ mental and physical illness of either the child or parents
λ drug or alcohol abuse
λ lack of education
λ lack of cultural values
λ the child having disability
What is the penalty for child abandonment?
Child abandonment is a criminal offense. Whoever abandons a child not over 9 years of age in any place, with intent to completely abandon such child in a manner so that such child shall be without a person to take care of, shall be punished with imprisonment not exceeding three years or fined not exceeding 6,000 baht, or both.
If a child dies as a result of abandonment, the offender may face reckless abandonment charges and shall be punished with imprisonment of 3 to 15 years.
If a child suffered grievous bodily harm as a result of abandonment, the offender shall be punished with imprisonment of six months to 10 years.
Grievous bodily harms are as follows:
λ Deprivation of the sight, deprivation of the hearing, cutting of the tongue or loss of the sense of smelling;
λ Loss of genital organs or reproductive ability;
λ Loss of an arm, leg, hand, foot, finger or any other organ;
λ Permanent disfiguration of face;
λ Permanent insanity;
λ nfirmity or chronic illness which may last throughout life.
What must I do when I see an abandoned child?
1. If the child is wounded or injured, the child should be taken to the hospital immediately to get proper treatment.
2. Report the incident to the nearest police station. Police officers will investigate and track down the parents or any relative of the child and attempt to contact them.
3. Contact the organization Group Homes for Children and Family in Chonburi Province at 038-240-220, 038-240-135, or thru their hotline 1300. This organization is governed by the Ministry of Social Development and Human Security, which has the main duty to protect children’s rights and welfare. The abandoned child/children are then taken to the center, to check their health, to test their Intelligence Quotient (IQ), and to examine their mental status and behavior. After the assessment, the abandoned child/children will then be transferred to other organizations which are suitable for them.