Tokyo: Child abuse cases handled by consultation offices in Japan hit a record 44,210 in fiscal 2009, rising for 19 straight years since statistics were first compiled in fiscal 1990, a government survey Wednesday showed.
The figure reflects an increase of 1,546 cases from fiscal 2008 when the previous record was set, the Health, Labour and Welfare Ministry said in a preliminary report.
During the reporting year that ended in March, there was only one case in which counsellors made a compulsory visit to a household, where child abuse was suspected after the family had rejected the investigation, down from two cases in fiscal 2008 when such measures became possible under the revised child abuse prevention law.
"The increase likely comes against the backdrop of growing public awareness of abuse year by year," a ministry official said, adding that moves by some local governments to
expand their consultation services may also be a contributing factor.
The cases include those in which child consultation offices run by Japan`s 47 prefectural governments as well as 20 municipal governments took action, such as temporarily taking children into protective custody or visiting families after receiving inquiries or being informed about suspected child abuse.
The number of cases increased from fiscal 2008 in 24 prefectures, with Mie seeing the largest percentage increase of 37 per cent to 541 cases, followed by Ibaraki with a 34 per
cent rise to 718 and Miyazaki, up 27 per cent to 365. Among the 11 cities where the number of cases increased, Osaka had the biggest jump of 84 per cent to 1,606 cases, ahead of Shizuoka and Kanazawa where the figures grew 52 per cent to 279 and 226, respectively.