Child abuse, domestic violence cases hit record highs in Japan

TOKYO (Jiji Press) — The number of suspected child abuse and domestic violence cases in Japan both hit a record high in 2021, a police survey showed Thursday.

“Child abuse and domestic violence tend to stay undetected. We’ll be on increased alert, given social changes such as the spread of coronavirus infections,” a National Police Agency official said.

The number of children aged 17 or younger referred by police to child consultation centers as suspected abuse victims grew 1%t from the previous year to 108,050.

Of the suspected victims, 80,299, or over 70% of the total, were psychologically abused, such as through seeing other family members abused in front of them.

The number of children who suffered physical abuse stood at 19,185, while 8,270 children were neglected and 296 children were sexually abused.

Police received 83,035 consultations on domestic violence, up 0.5%. The number of consultation cases involving stalking dropped 2.3% to 19,728.

The survey showed that the number of criminal offenses recognized by police in 2021 sagged 7.5% to 568,148, hitting the lowest level since the end of World War II for the seventh consecutive year.

The drop came apparently because people refrained from going out amid the pandemic and that street crimes, such as snatching, and intrusion theft fell in numbers due to the increased use of crime prevention equipment.

The number of abduction cases including those in which offenders keep the victims under control by assaulting, blackmailing or lying increased 15.4% to 389.

Most of the victims of those abduction cases were aged 19 or younger. The proportion of the victims aged 13 or over is on a growing trend. In many cases, people fell victim after social media contact, the NPA said.