Section Code: 0022 - 0031
Child Protection Act of 2546 (2003)
Chapter 2: Treatment of the Child
Treatment of the Child in any case shall give primary importance to the best interests of the child and any discrimination of an unfair nature shall not be allowed.
In determining if an act is in the best interests of or unfairly discriminatory to the child, guidelines stipulated in the ministerial regulations shall be applied.
Guardians must take care, exhort and develop a child under their guardianship in manners appropriate to local traditions, customs and culture but which in any case must not be below the minimum standards as stipulated in the ministerial regulations. They shall also safeguard the child under care against potentially harmful circumstances, whether physical or mental.
Permanent Secretaries, provincial governors, district chiefs, assistant district officers as head of sub-districts or administrative heads of local administration organizations have the duty to protect the safety of children living in the areas under their jurisdiction, regardless of whether or not they have parents or guardians, and also have the authority and duty to supervise and inspect nurseries, remand homes, welfare centres, safety protection centres, development and rehabilitation centres and observation centres falling under their jurisdiction. Findings of the inspections shall be reported to the Bangkok Metropolis Child Protection Committee or the Provincial Child Protection Committee, depending on the case. They shall also have the same authority and duties as those of competent officials according to this Act.
Guardians of a child are forbidden to act as follows:
- Abandon a child at a nursery or health care 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;
- Neglect a child at any place without arranging for appropriate safety protection or care;
- 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;
- Treat a child in ways or manners which hinder his or her growth or development;
- Treat a child in ways or manners which constitute unlawful caring.
Under the provisions of other laws, regardless of a child's consent, a person is forbidden to act as follows:
- Commit or omit acts which result in torturing a child's body or mind;
- Intentionally or neglectfully withhold things that are necessary for sustaining the life or health of a child under guardianship, to the extent which would be likely to cause physical or mental harm to the child;
- Force, threaten, induce, encourage or allow a child to adopt behaviour and manners which are inappropriate or likely to be the cause of wrongdoing;
- Advertise by means of the media or use any other means of information dissemination to receive or give away a child to any person who is not related to the child, save where such action is sanctioned by the State;
- Force, threaten, induce, encourage, consent to, or act in any other way that results in a child becoming a beggar, living on the street, or use a child as an instrument for begging or committing crimes, or act in any way that results in the exploitation of a child;
- Use, employ or ask a child to work or act in such a way that might be physically or mentally harmful to the child, affect the child's growth or hinder the child's development;
- Force, threaten, use, induce, instigate, encourage, or allow a child to play sports or commit any acts indicative of commercial exploitation in a manner which hinders the child's growth and development or constitutes an act of torture against the child;
- Use or allow a child to gamble in any form or enter into a gambling place, brothel, or other place where children are not allowed;
- Force, threaten, use, induce, instigate, encourage or allow a child to perform or act in a pornographic manner, regardless of whether the intention is to obtain remuneration or anything else;
- Sell, exchange or give away liquor or cigarettes to a child, other than for medical purposes.
If the offences under paragraph one carry heavier penalties under other law, penalties under such law shall be imposed.
It is forbidden for anyone to advertise or disseminate by means of the media or any other kind of information technology any information on a child or the child’s guardian, with the intention of causing damage to the mind, reputation, prestige or any other interests of the child or seeking benefit for oneself or others in an unlawful manner.
In those cases where a child's guardian is not in a state to take care, raise, discipline and develop the child, regardless of the reason, or a child's guardian acts in a manner which is likely to be harmful to the child's safety or obstructive to his or her growth or development, or provides unlawful care; or for any other compelling reason for the benefit of assisting or protecting the child against harm, a competent official must undertake to provide assistance and protection to the child according to this Act.
Upon finding a child in circumstances which warrant welfare assistance or safety protection as stipulated under Chapters 3 and 4, a person shall provide basic assistance and notify a competent official, administrative official or police officer or person having the duty to protect a child's safety according to Article 24 without delay.
A physician, nurse, psychologist or public health official admitting a child for treatment; teacher, instructor or employer having the duty to take care of a child who is his or her student or employee, shall report immediately to a competent official or person having duty to protect a child's safety according to Article 24, or administrative official or police officer if it is apparent or suspected that the child has been tortured or is sick due to unlawful care.
Persons notifying or reporting in good faith under this Article shall receive appropriate protection and shall not be held liable for any civil, criminal or administrative action arising therefrom.
For the benefit of implementation in pursuance of this Act, a competent official according to Chapters 3 and 4, shall have the authority and duties as follows:
- To enter homes, any establishments or vehicles, during the period from the rising to the setting of the sun, for the purpose of searching, in those cases where there is reason to suspect that an act of torture, detention or unlawful care has been committed against a child. However, in the case where there is reason to believe that if action is not taken immediately, a child may be harmed mentally or physically or be taken to another place which would make it difficult to trace and rescue such child, a competent official may have the power to enter such places after the setting of the sun;
- To question a child when there is reason to suspect that the child is in need of welfare assistance or safety protection. If necessary, in order that welfare assistance and protection of safety may be better provided or arranged, the child may be brought to the office of the competent official to obtain information about the child and his family, including any person the child is living with. In this regard, such action must be taken without undue delay, but, in any case, the child may not be detained for more than hours. When such a period of time has elapsed, the provisions under clause (6) shall apply. During the time that the child remains in custody, he or she shall be provided for and, if ill, receive medical care;
- To issue a letter summoning a child's guardian or any other persons to testify or give statements on the living conditions, behaviour, health and relationships within the family of the child;
- To issue a written order to a child's guardian, employer or business operator, owner or possessor of a place where the child works or used to work, live or used to live, owner or possessor or keeper of a place at which the child is studying or used to study, or to the person in charge of protecting the child's safety, to submit documents or evidence regarding the child's living conditions, education, employment or behaviour;
- To enter the residence of a child's guardian, place of business of the child's employer, the child's place of education or the place with which the child is concerned or connected, within the period from dawn to dusk to interview persons living in such places and gather information or evidence concerning the child's living conditions, relationship within the child's family, care provided, and character and behaviour of the child;
- To restore a child to his or her guardian with recommendations or warning given to the guardian to take care and bring up the child in the right manner to enable the child to develop properly;
- On request, to prepare a report on a child for submission to the relevant persons or authorities in those cases where the child is being sent to a remand home or other concerned institute or agency.
A child under care of a competent official shall be properly provided for and received suitable education, and prior to sending the child to a nursery, remand home, welfare centre, safety protection centre or development and rehabilitation centre, experts in the fields of social welfare and medicine shall be consulted to the extent possible.
To carry out duties in pursuance of clauses (1), (2) and (5), a competent official shall present his identification card to the persons concerned and the persons concerned shall accord facilitations as appropriate.
The competent official's identification card shall be in conformity with the form stipulated by the Minister as published in the Government Gazette.
In the performance of duties under this Act, the competent officials shall be officials under the Penal Code.