Most cases of child abuse were found to have been inflicted by the parents of the victims, a report showed Sunday.
According to a report released by New Politics Alliance for Democracy Rep. Lee Chan-yeol, 80.3 percent of 6,896 child abuse cases reported last year were caused by parents of victims. The number jumped by 383 cases from the year before.
Among parent inflictors, biological fathers accounted for the most cases with 41.1 percent followed by biological mothers, stepmothers and stepfathers, with 35.1 percent, 2.1 percent and 1.6 percent, respectively.
About 10 percent of child abuse took place in child welfare centers or day care centers, the report said. Nearly 40 percent of victims were abused almost every day and 15.4 percent every two or three days, it added.
Meanwhile, the Gender Equality and Family Ministry last Friday vowed to draft a set of measures for victims of child abuse and domestic violence. Comprehensive preventive measures against domestic violence and child abuse were released in June last year but were considered insufficient, a ministry official said.
“Almost all child abuse cases are domestic violence inflicted by parents. The seriousness of this issue should not be viewed from a welfare perspective but as violence,” the official said.
The ministry will come up with detailed plans based on previous effect-proven measures, and push for a cooperation system with the police, the Health and Welfare Ministry and the Justice Ministry.
The Korean public was outraged by a recent series of high-profile child abuse cases. Last Friday, two women in different regions were sentenced to prison terms for beating their stepdaughters to death.
A 36-year-old woman in Chilgok, North Gyeongsang Province, was sentenced to a 10-year prison term on charges of beating her 8-year-old stepdaughter to death. The defendant was found to have consequently kicked her stepdaughter’s stomach, leading the girl to die from peritonitis ― inflammation of the abdominal lining. The court also handed down a three-year jail term to the biological father for neglect.
Another woman in the southern city of Ulsan was sentenced to 15 years behind bars for beating her stepdaughter to death. The 8-year-old daughter was found with 16 ribs broken.
Public anger escalated over the court’s decision not to apply murder charges. Two courts said that the defendants did not seem to have had specific intentions to kill the girls.
By Lee Hyun-jeong (firstname.lastname@example.org)