The government warned Tuesday of a nationwide surge in child abuse reports, saying serious cases show no sign of abating and society as a whole urgently needs to address the problem.

In its fiscal 2006 white paper on youth, the government said child consultation centers received 1,101 abuse-related inquiries in fiscal 1990 and numbers have since surged. In 2004 there were 33,408 inquiries, topping the 30,000 threshold for the first time.

The report says child abuse will affect victims their entire lives, causing developmental problems in addition to triggering psychological and behavioral problems.

The report mentions “chains of abuse” between generations, in which adults who were abused as kids abuse their own children.

“It is necessary to provide uninterrupted support to children, from preventing abuse to helping the victims become independent,” the report says.

The Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry said in its 2004 survey that preschool children account for nearly half, or 45.7 percent, of total child abuse victims, adding the abuse starts from the early phase of child-rearing.

The report cites a case in Kamo, Niigata Prefecture, where authorities introduced school buses to protect children amid a rise in crimes targeting kids.

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