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Child abuse cases double in a year

(123rf)
(123rf)

The number of child abuse arrests doubled in 2021 from the previous year, and more than 80 percent of the offenders were parents, a report showed Tuesday.

A National Police Agency report showed that 12,725 suspects were arrested last year on child abuse charges, up 106 percent from 6,164 in the previous year, according to Rep. Kim Yong-pan of the People Power Party.

Last year's surge was significantly higher than the annual increase seen in other years since 2017, which fell between 9 and 25 percent.

The majority, or 82 percent, of the perpetrators were parents, a rate that has jumped from 68 percent in 2017.

The social distancing policy under the COVID-19 pandemic was considered one of the main reasons for the surge, as children were forced to stay home much longer than before, the police report said.

Physical abuse, which accounts for the highest share of cases, made up roughly 70 percent of all types of child abuse every year from 2017 to 2021, while cases of emotional abuse increased from 7.6 percent in 2017 to 14.5 percent last year.

Under the newly revised anti-child abuse law, which increased punishment on perpetrators, five people were punished on charges of child abuse leading to homicide. The law was amended in March last year after a series of deaths of abused children.

According to a related report submitted by the Ministry of Health and Welfare to the National Assembly's Health and Welfare Committee on Aug. 31, among 53,932 child abuse cases filed to the police in 2021, 37,605 perpetrators were prosecuted, up 21.7 percent from the previous year.

"Child abuse crimes are still frequently committed. We need more systematic safety measures to protect children,” said Kim.



By Lee Jung-Youn (jy@heraldcorp.com)
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