Wed, Apr 04, 2018 - Page 3 News List

Number of child abuse cases on the rise: groups

REASONABLE BUDGET:National expenditure on child affairs only comprises 0.34 percent of GDP, 10 times less than the average in OECD nations, an expert said

By Su Fang-ho and Jake Chung  /  Staff reporter, with staff writer

On the eve of Children’s Day yesterday, children’s welfare groups unveiled figures that suggest that the sexual exploitation of children and abuse cases have been on the rise over the past four years.

The groups said they would be jointly founding the Alliance for the Establishment of a Central Government Agency for the Welfare of Children and Adolescents.

According to data provided by the groups, 263 children were reportedly sexually exploited in 2014, but there were already 357 victims in the first half of last year.

Child abuse cases have increased by 73.4 percent in just four years to 59,912 last year from 34,545 cases in 2013, the groups told a news conference in Taipei.

Child welfare affairs being distributed among different government agencies has proven inefficient, Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator Alicia Wang (王育敏) said.

With the nation’s birthrate in the bottom three in the world, we have few enough children already, and yet on average there was a telephone call about a child abuse case every 10 minutes last year, she said.

Wang called on Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中) to look into the matter.

Democratic Progressive Party Legislator Lee Li-feng (李麗芬) said the duties of the former children’s bureau had been delegated to the Ministry of Health and Welfare’s social and family affairs administration and the department of protective services, calling on the ministry to integrate responsibility with one agency.

The ministry should also discuss the issues involved with civic groups, Lee said.

KMT Legislator Chen Yi-min (陳宜民) said the wages paid to pediatricians in southern Taiwan are disproportionate to the amount of work required and as a result the willingness of pediatricians to remain practicing is dwindling.

If pediatricians leave to work in China, it is possible that Taiwan would suffer a shortage of doctors, Chen said.

Chen called on the government to establish an agency to oversee medical issues, and the prevention of abuse and sexual exploitation of children.

National Taiwan University Children and Family Research Center director Feng Yen (馮燕) said that national expenditure on child affairs only comprises 0.34 percent of GDP, 10 times less than the average in Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development nations.

Feng also called on the government to set up an agency overseeing child affairs, adding that only then would there be a possibility of it having a reasonable budget.

In response, Ministry of Health and Welfare Social and Family Affairs Administration Deputy Director Lin Tzu-jui (林資芮) said an Executive Yuan task force with the goal of consolidating governmental resources for child welfare has been established.

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