Sun, Nov 20, 2005 - Page 2 News List

Foundation appeals for better abuse prevention

DISTURBING STATISTICS A child welfare foundation pointed to nearly 5,000 reported cases of child abuse in the first half of the year and urged preventive measures

By Jenny Chou  /  STAFF REPORTER

Citing statistics showing that a case of child or adolescent abuse is reported every 55 minutes, the Child Welfare League Foundation yesterday called on the government and the public to do a better job protecting children's rights. The appeal came at a fundraising event for World Help Children's Day.

There were 4,829 total cases of child or adolescent abuse reported in the first half of the year, according to statistics released recently by the Ministry of the Interior. Of those, 71.4 percent were abused by their parents, 10.1 percent by caretakers and 5.7 percent by relatives.

"The incident of a 4-year-old girl surnamed Chiu, whose life was taken away by the very hands of her drunk father at the beginning of the year, is one which probably remains fresh in the nation's minds," said the convener of the foundation, Wang Yu-ming (王育敏). "This is, however, only one in a stack of similar cases."

He said that in a recent case, a father took away the lives of his three daughters following career troubles.

"Such is the fragility of children's lives," he said.

Even more worrying, Wang said, was that so many abuse cases are not reported. In all probability there are tens of thousands of children living in "high risk" families, he said.

Abby Chen (陳雅惠) from the foundation's Resource Development Office said there had been no reports of abuse prior to the death of the little girl surnamed Chiu.

Following Chiu's case, the foundation started a project for "high risk" families. If the foundation gets reports of suspected abuse from teachers or community members, it will intervene in the situation.

Chen said that the foundation can intervene to get help for the parents, who often resort to abuse during stressful times.

"If unemployment is the problem, we can help to put them in touch with vocational training services," Chen said. "Or we may put them in touch with child protection agencies who can provide a temporary place for children to live."

According to statistics from the ministry, reasons why people abuse children include a lack of knowledge regarding child-parent relationships, marital problems, drug or alcohol abuse, career problems, mental illness and a history of being abused themselves.

A lack of knowledge about child-parent relationships was the most common reason, involving 41.5 percent of cases.

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