Sun, May 28, 2006 - Page 2 News List

Child abuse cases increase: report

RISING RATE The number of confirmed cases of abuse rose by 26 percent last year from 2004, with more cases reported through the national 113 abuse hotline


A report recently released by the Ministry of the Interior said that 10,722 cases of child abuse were reported last year -- a 26 percent increase from 2004.

Of the reported cases, 9,897 minors were found to have been abused. That number included 7,095 children and 2,802 teenagers, the report said.

Compared to the year before, the child abuse rate rose by 22.4 percent for children and 37.3 percent for teenagers, it said.

Most of the cases (1,515) were reported by hospitals, followed by police agencies (1,433) and the father or mother (1,355 cases).

Huang Pi-hsia (黃碧霞), director of the ministry's Child Welfare Bureau, said that in general, 50 percent of the cases of abuse are reported by the public (such as neighbors and relatives), while the other half are reported by hospitals, police agencies and teachers.

Of the abuse cases, 36.9 percent involved physical abuse, followed by 23.2 percent that involved neglect.

The report said that there were 9,028 abusers last year, 74.1 percent of whom were parents. Parents, relatives, neighbors and cohabitation partners accounted for 92 percent of the aggressors.

The number of aggressors increased by 29.4 percent. More than 60 percent of the aggressors were men, the report said.

Most aggressors were between the ages of 30 to 39, followed by those in their 40s, it said.

In terms of location, Taipei County had the highest number of cases where child abuse was confirmed -- 2,644 in all -- followed by Kaohsiung County with 971, and Taoyuan County with 799.

Huang said that those numbers reflect the fact that the three counties have higher populations of children than other cities and counties.

The ministry has an abuse reporting and counseling service hotline that helped a total of 54,368 people last year, a 29.6 percent increase from the year before.

Abuse statistics

* 10,722 cases of abuse were reported last year, a 26 percent increase from 2004.

* 9.897 cases of abuse were confirmed.

* Of those, 7,095 involved abuse of a child, a 22.4 percent increase from 2004.

* 2,802 cases involved the abuse of a teenager, a 37.3 percent increase from 2004.

* 36.9 percent of last year's cases involved physical abuse.

* 23.2 percent of the cases involved neglect.

Source: the ministry of the interior

The hotline has been around since 1998, Huang told the Taipei Times, but it was a longer phone number till 2001 when the number "113" was used. Since then, the number of calls to report abuse has increased, Huang said.

Huang said that more cases were reported last year and the bureau has been able to help abuse victims more quickly.

However, the bureau is still working towards discovering cases even sooner since in many reported cases last year, the child was already severely injured or even dead, Huang said.

The report also said that 9,806 child abuse victims have received protection or relocated with a relative, foster family or agency.

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