There were nearly 9,000 child abuse cases that needed intervention by officials last year, including 15 that resulted in death, the Ministry of Health and Welfare (MOHW) said yesterday, urging people to be vigilant about suspected child abuse in their neighborhoods.
A video posted online on Saturday, purportedly showing a man in New Taipei City beating his son for not getting hot sauce from a street stall and also beating his wife for trying to stop him, went viral and led to a public outcry over child abuse and domestic violence.
President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) on Monday wrote on Facebook that most reports of domestic violence were filed by police officers and hospitals, not through the ministry’s 113 abuse prevention hotline.
She urged everyone to pay more attention to children in their surroundings who are suspected of being abused.
The following day, local Chinese-language media reported that a one-year-old girl was allegedly beaten to death by her teenage mother and her relatives in Tainan.
The two incidents were heartbreaking and unbearable, the ministry said yesterday.
It received nearly 60,000 reports of child abuse last year, of which about 33,000 were confirmed, and nearly 9,000 cases were evaluated by social workers as in need of intervention, it said.
About 80 percent of the victims were younger than six, the ministry added.
Many of the child abuse cases were caused by improper communication and adults losing their temper, Department of Protective Services Deputy Director Lin Wei-yan (林維言) said.
There are various causes of child abuse, such as marital problems, parents losing their temper over their children’s behavior, parents struggling with alcoholism, and adolescent parents who do not have the skills or the resources needed for childcare, she said.
The Executive Yuan in February last year approved a social safety net enhancement program to provide preventive family support services at 154 social welfare service centers nationwide, and also integrated information regarding high-risk families, the ministry said.
Ministry personnel also visit the homes of disadvantaged children younger than six who are in high-risk families, Lin said.
The ministry urged people to report suspected child abuse by calling the “113” hotline, using the social safety net mobile app, or visiting its Web site (ecare.mohw.gov.tw).
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