Tue, Jun 29, 2004 - Page 2 News List

Groups join to combat child abuse


The Children's Bureau is planning a series of summer activities to explain the importance of preventing child abuse.

Some 43 civic groups have joined to provide performances, seminars, outdoor events and film screenings across the nation to increase awareness of abuse issues.

"Bureau statistics show that most of the abusers turned out to be parents or adults living in the home of the abused children," Minister of the Interior Su Jia-chyuan (蘇嘉全) said yesterday.

He said that 81 percent of abusers are parents, a figure that increases to 91 percent when other adults living in the same household are included.

Bureau statistics also show that the chief causes of child abuse were a lack of parenting skills, dysfunctional marriages, parental substance abuse, poverty and unemployment.

"There is sometimes a fine line between parenting and abuse," Su said. "For instance, parents lacking proper parenting skills, such as those who have it ingrained in their minds that physical abuse is the way to educate children, may actually be abusing their children without realizing it."

The bureau also said that for physiological reasons, or out of curiosity or feeling insecure, children might wet beds, steal or lie. These behaviors are normal, but parents were often outraged by them and would beat the children in response, officials said.

"Parents have to be very patient and control their temper or else seek help to cope with the problems they are facing," they said.

Professionals who deal with children must report any apparent cases of child abuse.

"Classmates, medical professionals, policemen or neighbors should contact local officers or call 113, the helpline for children and women, if they suspect chronic child abuse," Su said.

Causes of child abuse (percent of cases)

* Lack of parenting skills, 30

* Dysfunctional marriages, 20

* Substance abuse, 11.6

* Poverty, 10.9

* Unemployment, 9.8

* Mental disorders, 3.7

* Abnormal personalities, 3.6

* Parents abused as kids, 1.3

* Superstitious practices, 0.43

* Other, 8.5

Source: Children's Bureau, Ministry of the Interior

The four major child-welfare civic groups participating in the activities are World Vision Taiwan, the Chinese Fund for Children and Families Taiwan, the Garden of Hope and the Child Welfare League Foundation.

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