NPA refers record number of child abuse victims to consultation centers in 2012MAR. 09, 2013 TOKYO —
The National Police Agency (NPA) said this week that officers referred a record high 16,387 child abuse victims to child consultation centers nationwide in 2012 last year.
According to the NPA, the figures, which mark a 42.1% increase on the previous year, are the highest since records began in 2004, when just 962 referrals were made. The 2012 figure, a 17-fold increase on that number, has been attributed to improved public awareness over the issue and an increased focus on addressing child abuse cases at an early stage in cooperation with child consultation centers, said an agency official.
Fuji TV reported that of the total, 8,266 children under 18 years of age were referred due to having suffered psychological abuse. Around 65% of psychological abuse cases, totaling 5,431, involved one parent physically assaulting the other in the presence of the child. In addition, 5,222 referrals were on behalf of victims of physical abuse, Fuji reported.
The NPA also announced that 2,736 referrals were made on behalf of children left unfed or otherwise uncared for, while 163 were for children who had suffered sexual abuse.
The NPA said that police forces refer victims of abuse to child consultation centers, who are then tasked with taking steps to protect the children, such as taking them into protective custody and providing counseling to parents.