Sun, Jul 04, 2004 - Page 4 News List

Bureau focusus on child abuse issues

By Caroline Hong  /  STAFF WRITER

Parents and children watch a performance at an event dealing with child abuse issues co-sponsored by the Children's Bureau of the Ministry of the Interior and the Taiwan Fund for Children and Families at the Taipei Zoo yesterday.

PHOTO: CHIANG YING-YING, TAIPEI TIMES

The Children's Bureau of the Ministry of the Interior (CBI) yesterday launched a series of promotional events dealing with child abuse issues with an afternoon of children's plays and performances at the Taipei Zoo.

Yesterday's event, co-sponsored by the Taiwan Fund for Children and Families (CCF), had youngsters and parents laughing at a magician's antics despite the wind and overcast sky caused by Typhoon Mindulle.

The event was the first of five major activities the CBI is co-organizing with local non-profit organizations as part of its "Youth Protective Services Season." To address the increasing number of high-profile child abuse cases, the CBI has made this season's slogan: "Cherish the children: Stay away from abuse."

"Our statistics show that the reported number of child abuse cases is going up every year. We want to use these events to increase awareness among children that there are support structures around them, and encourage the public to use our 113 hotline for women and children if they suspect abuse," said bureau director Huang Pi-hsia (黃碧霞).

According to the bureau's figures, the number of reported child abuse cases last year was 8,013. In 2002, there were 6,093 cases, and in 2001, the figure stood at 6,059.

Although the rise is partly due to increased awareness about child abuse, Huang said it was also due to higher pressures on the family system.

"Societal influences such as the high unemployment and divorce rates put parents under pressure that may lead to them abusing or neglecting their children," Huang said.

The CCF's director of programming and development in its social work department, Chou Hui-hsiang (周惠香), also identified media attention as a possible cause of the increase in reported cases, since public coverage might encourage copy-cat cases.

"When a mother who has no hope sees news about a similar case, she might get the idea to commit suicide and take her children with her, like the case she saw on the news," Chou said.

The other four activities planned are a charity carnival at Kaohsiung's Ai River Huang-chin Plaza on July 31, family games at the Taipei Zoo on Aug. 7, a carnival at the National Museum of Natural Science in Taichung on Aug. 14 and a night festival in Hualien on Sept. 4.

In addition to the four main activities, 43 civic groups have agreed to organize performances, seminars, outdoor events and film screenings across the nation to increase awareness of abuse issues.

To learn about the season's activities, see the CIB Web site at www.cib.gov.tw or call (04) 2250-2850 for more information.

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