Child abuse claimed 12 lives and more than 5,000 victims in the first half of this year, with the full-year death toll expected to surpass that of last year, a report showed Tuesday.
The report by the National Child Protection Agency showed that eight out of 10 cases of child abuse were perpetuated by parents and other close family members.
The first-half death toll from child abuse is 70 percent of the 17 deaths reported for 2014.
Of the 9,471 suspected cases of abuse, 5,432 were confirmed to have involved a child being physically, mentally or sexually abused. Officials said 388 other cases are being investigated at the moment.
"There has been a steady increase in child abuse cases and legal actions taken against offenders on the heels of growing social awareness and intolerance for such actions," an agency official said.
In 2001, there were 2,105 cases of child abuse confirmed by authorities, but this rose to 5,581 cases in 2007 before reaching 6,791 in 2013 and spiking to 10,027 last year.
At the present pace, there is a chance that the total number of child abuse cases in 2015 will surpass last year's total.
According to the report, 47.6 percent of child abuse cases involved the father of the child, followed by 29.8 percent for the mother, with step parents or both biological parents accounting for the rest. Slightly over 6 percent of the abusers were teachers and daycare workers, including those hired by kindergartens.
Of the kind of abuse endured by children, physical abuse ranked No. 1, followed by mental abuse, neglect and sexual abuse.
Of the all cases involving child abuse, legal action was taken against 27 percent of the offenders, up 12 percentage points compared to all of last year, it said. (Yonhap)