Number of child abuse cases largest ever
The two main offices handling child abuse cases on Okinawa, the Koza Child Consultation Center and the Central Consultation Center, report that the number of abuse cases increased almost 1.5-fold in 2015 from the year earlier.
Officials at the centers say that the centers handled a total of 687 abuse cases in 2015 that marks a 144-percent increase over the previous year. They add that the number has increased every year since compiling of such statistics was started in 1990.
According to Okinawa Prefecture officials, the increase in child abuse cases owes to the fact that police and neighbors are increasingly seeing spousal violence against mothers in the presence of the child as psychological child abuse.
The largest category of abuse in 2015 was the 303 cases of “psychological abuse,” that include abusive words and physical violence directed to the child’s mother. The second largest number was the 196 cases of child neglect and the third was 173 cases of physical abuse. There were 15 cases of sexual abuse.
Reportedly, a major cause of increased violence against mothers is economic hardships, and consequently, the prefecture is considering ways to increase the support for young mothers and parents raising young children in order to prevent child abuse.