Japanese Police, Child Guidance Officers Report Record High Child Abuse Incidents in 2018Society
The National Police Agency reported that child guidance offices across Japan received a total of 80,252 notifications of suspected child abuse in 2018. This was the fourteenth consecutive year that this number has increased since statistics began being collected in 2004. Of these, the police handled 1,380 cases, with 1,394 children suffering harm (including 36 fatalities). Both of these figures rose by 20% from the previous year to new record highs.
One factor behind the rise in cases where police become involved is the increased social awareness regarding child abuse as well as more and more local residents notifying authorities. However, tragic incidents are still occurring in 2019, including that of a fourth-grade elementary school girl in Chiba Prefecture, who died following abuse by her father.
Although child guidance office workers conduct home visits to confirm the situation and take the children into care, many of the parents refuse to hand over the children or pretend that they are not home. Due to this, police nationwide are responding to child guidance office requests, such as by accompanying child guidance workers on home visits and placing former police officers in their offices. In addition, the government is aiming to revise child abuse related laws during the 2019 Diet session, for example by amending the Child Abuse Prevention Act to include a ban on corporal punishment of children by their parents.
(Translated from Japanese. Banner photo © Pixta.)