Japanese police handled a record number of child abuse cases in 2019, and child guidance offices submitted a record number of notifications.
In Japan, the police handled 1,972 cases of child abuse in 2019, involving 1,991 children. Both figures showed a 1.4-fold increase from the previous year and are the highest yet seen statistically. Tragically, 54 of those cases resulted in fatalities. Child guidance offices also submitted a record high number of 98,222 notifications to the police.
According to the National Police Agency, among the child abuse cases handled in 2019, the majority were connected with physical abuse (1,641 cases), followed by sexual abuse (246 cases), psychological abuse (50 cases), and neglect (35 cases). Statistics from 2003 onward show that physical and sexual abuse remain the most common types of abuse. However, from 2015, psychological abuse, which up to then had not been as prevalent as neglect, is on the increase.
The abuse in these cases was perpetrated by 2,024 people. Physical abuse, which accounted for the majority of cases, was caused mainly by the biological father (801 people), followed by the biological mother (492), the stepfather (195), and a male partner of the mother (143). Male perpetrators were overwhelmingly responsible for cases of sexual abuse. In cases of psychological abuse and neglect, however, many of the cases involved the biological mother (23 and 28, respectively). The biological father was also involved in a high number of cases (20 and 12, respectively).
The National Police Agency has seen a continuous increase in notifications from child guidance offices with 98,222 submitted in 2019. A record 5,553 children were taken into police protection, a huge increase from 4,571 the previous year.
The number of fatalities due to abuse has been fluctuating, but is gradually decreasing. In 2019, there were 54 fatalities, nearly half of the 98 such cases that in 2008. A breakdown of the fatalities in 2019 shows that 21 were due to forced double suicides, 8 were immediately following birth, and the remaining 25 due to other causes.
One perspective into this fall is that recently physical abuse that does not involve serious injuries or death has been on the increase. Meanwhile, the increase statistically in the number of cases and victims is attributed to a rise , as well as the police more actively investigating cases and making arrests.
(Translated from Japanese. Banner photo: © Graphs/Pixta.)