Tokyo, March 12 (Jiji Press)–Japanese police detected 1,972 child abuse cases involving a total of 1,991 victims, aged under 18, in 2019, with both figures marking record highs, a National Police Agency survey showed Thursday.
The number of children that the police took into protective custody in an urgent manner due to their life-threatening situations rose by 982 from the previous year to 5,553. The number has been increasing continuously since comparable data became available in 2012.
The rise apparently reflected the police’s proactive stance of dealing with child abuse cases, with the number of related reports increasing thanks to enhanced social interest in the matter and bolstered collaboration with child consultation centers.
Beefing up measures against child abuse further remains an urgent task, however, as tragedies involving children are never ending. During the year, 54 children died after being abused, including 21 who died in murder-suicide cases and Mia Kurihara in Noda, Chiba Prefecture, who died at the age of 10 in a high-profile case of alleged abuse by her father.
Physical abuse cases came to 1,641, accounting for some 80 pct of the total detected cases. The number of sexual abuse cases stood at 246, psychological abuse cases at 50 and child neglect cases at 35.
Among the offenders, the number of biological fathers was largest, at 913, followed by biological mothers, at 550, adoptive fathers and stepfathers, at 302, and de facto husbands of the victims’ mothers, at 187.
Of the victims, boys came to 1,013, while girls totaled 978.
The police notified child consultation centers of suspected abuse against a record 98,222 children.
In more than 70,000 cases, children suffered psychological abuse. In some 60 pct of such cases, children saw their fathers or mothers using violence against their partners.
The high figure apparently stemmed from an increase in the number of child abuse reports made by police officers who rushed to the scene of domestic violence and found children there.
Child consultation center workers requested police officers accompany them to abuse scenes in 494 cases, up by 155.