Police refer record 16,400 child abuse victims to consultation centers in Japan
TOKYO (Kyodo) — Police referred a record 16,387 child abuse victims to child consultation centers in Japan last year, up 42.1 percent from the previous year, the National Police Agency said Thursday.
The NPA started collecting data in 2004, when the number of victims came to 962, and the figure has increased 17-fold since then.
“We have received more and more child abuse cases as public awareness over the issue grows,” an agency official said. “We hope we can address these cases at early stages in cooperation with child consultation centers.”
A total of 8,266 children under the age of 18 suffered psychological abuse, such as verbal abuse, and 5,222 faced physical abuse, according to the NPA.
It also said 2,736 were neglected, including those who were not provided with food, and 163 faced sexual abuse.
Among the psychological abuse cases, 5,431, or 65.7 percent, involved one of the child’s parents being violent toward the other in front of the child.
After receiving reports from the police, child consultation centers take measures, such as taking children into protective custody and providing counseling to parents.
The NPA also decided Thursday to clamp down more rigorously on delinquents who behave threateningly but not to the degree that mobsters do.
As heinous crimes and fraud by delinquents such as former motorcycle gang members are on the rise, these criminals are “collecting almost as much money as crime syndicates,” said an NPA official.
Groups of delinquents are not as well organized as criminal gangs but are underpinned by loose personal contacts. They engage in violent conduct together and show recidivist tendencies with some having close ties to crime syndicates, according to the agency.
The NPA is taking a particularly close look at former members of a now defunct motorcycle gang called Kanto Rengo and young relatives of Japanese repatriated from China many years after World War II.
These groups may be growing more conspicuous “because they have made money through bank transfer scams or because they failed to make much money after joining a crime syndicate,” the official said.
March 07, 2013(Mainichi Japan)