Fri, Jun 12, 2015 - Page 3 News List

Two-thirds of severe child abuse went unreported

ENDING IN TRAGEDY:Too often, authorities do not know about abuse until it is too late, as with a toddler who died after being beaten and burned

By Stacy Hsu  /  Staff reporter

Only one in every three child abuse cases leading to severe injuries or deaths in the past two years had been made known to the authorities before the tragic incidents occurred, the Ministry of Health and Welfare (MOHW) said yesterday, urging the public to report any potential instances of domestic abuse.

The ministry made the remarks following news reports on Wednesday that a three-year-old girl, surnamed Lin (林), from Hualien County’s Jian Township (吉安), had died after allegedly being subjected to frequent abuse by her aunt and the woman’s live-in boyfriend.

According to investigators, the girl sustained fractures to her skull and bleeding on her brain.

The girl’s aunt and her boyfriend confessed that they had choked the girl, thrown her to the ground and burned her feet with cigarettes or lighters when they were “in a bad mood,” authorities said.

Department of Protective Services Director Chang Hsiu-yuan (張秀鴛) said 11,589 children suffered from abuse last year, of whom 2,626 were aged six or younger.

“More concerning is that of the 29 cases of severe injuries or deaths involving children that were caused by abuse or neglect of care in the past two years, 19 of them did not have any prior abuse reports in the system,” Chang said.

Chang said parents were responsible for the majority — 14 — of the unreported cases, while live-in partners or close friends of the children’s carers were the main abusers in four cases.

Statistics have shown that parents who are younger or suffer mental illness are major risk factors for child mistreatment, while children who are physically or mentally challenged, or born prematurely were most susceptible to abuse, Chang said.

“Infants and toddlers who are neglected by other members of the family, relatives or members of the local community are particularly susceptible to domestic violence,” Chang said, urging people to intervene and notify the relevant authorities if they have any concerns about potential abuse.

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