Rape victims move to state shelter

Rape victims move to state shelter

The two student victims of a rape case, which allegedly involves five teachers from a public school in Mukdahan, are now in the custody of Mukdahan's state-run shelter for children and families, the Department of Children and Youth said yesterday.

One of the victims, a 14-year-old girl, moved to the shelter after her family was given an assurance she will be taken care of while a police investigation into the case continues, said Suphatcha Sutthiphon, director-general of the department.

The other victim, a 16-year-old girl, moved into the shelter earlier, Ms Suphatcha said.

The younger girl followed her possibly due to concerns raised by several parties over her safety, Ms Suphatcha added.

The latest assessment of the two girls' mental health showed they were mentally strong, which suggests they were now ready for the witness questioning process.

"The shelter is a state-owned facility with tight security, so they are safe from anyone who may want to threaten them," she said.

Previously, police had granted the suspects bail but after they were released, reports surfaced that other teachers at the school were making social media posts in support of the alleged perpetrators.

Those supporting the suspects have now been ordered to explain their actions in writing to the Office of the Basic Education Commission (Obec), although what they did was not deemed as disciplinary misconduct, said Sanit Yamkesorn, deputy secretary-general of Obec.

It is not known how many have been told to explain their actions.

As for the teachers allegedly involved in the rape case, he said an Obec panel is conducting disciplinary probes into their actions, which are proceeding alongside police inquiries.

As for the school's headmaster, if evidence points to negligence on his part in connection with the case, he will face an investigation as well, said Mr Sanit.

Waraporn Chamsanit, manager of the Women's Wellbeing and Gender Justice Programme, and a network of 70 organisations have petitioned through change.org calling for the Education Ministry to take action against sexual violence in schools.

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