Child abuse cases hit record high

Mainichi Shimbun, Tuesday 2 November 1999

Reporting of child abuse cases soared to a record high across the nation in fiscal 1998, the Health and Welfare Ministry announced on Monday.

Parents were fingered as the main culprits in the abuse with mothers accounting for over half of the cases.

The total of cases reported to child-counseling centers hit 6,932 in fiscal 1998, an increase of over 1,500 from the previous year, the ministry said.

The increasing trend of child abuses continued with the number of abuse cases reported last year more than six times the figure in fiscal 1990, when the first such poll was conducted.

Among those reported to the nation's 174 counseling centers, cases of physical violence topped the list with 3,673 incidents, or 53 percent of the total last year.

The number of negligence or refusal of protection cases, such as giving no food or not paying attention to children's illness, was 2,109, or 30.4 percent of the total.

Ranked third in the list was psychological abuses including verbal attacks, with 650 cases, followed by 396 cases of sexual assaults.

By age, 36.6 percent, or 2,537, of the abuse victims were elementary school students, followed by those aged from 3 to elementary school age, with 26.9 percent of the total.

Those abuses were expected to have taken place at home. Mothers topped the list of those who abused children, accounting for 3,821 cases, or 55.1 percent.

In 27.6 percent of the cases, the abusers were fathers.