• Kyodo

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A record high 5,670 children were mentally abused in the first half of 2013, the National Police Agency said in a report Thursday.

The total was up 2,036, or 56.0 percent, from the previous year, the report said. The figure was based on police reports issued to child consultation centers across the country. The children were 17 or younger.

A total of 3,804, or 67.1 percent, suffered harm after witnessing domestic violence in their families.

Most cases of mental harm involving children do not lead to criminal charges. The police were able to arrest or question suspects only in eight cases where acts of violence directed at children were suspected or in which children were allegedly threatened with knives.

The total for any form of child abuse stood at a record high 10,061 cases, up 2,790 from a year earlier. Under a 2000 law on the prevention of child abuse, the police are required to report such cases to child consultation centers, which then send staff to visit children’s homes and take protective steps if necessary.

A breakdown of abuses in the first half of 2013 reveals that physical abuse cases came to 2,891, up 591 from a year ago, followed by 1,444 cases of neglect, up 190, and 56 cases of sexual abuse, down by 27.

People charged for criminal offenses in abuse cases came to 221, down 27.

The number of children who were fatally abused stood at a record low of 11, dropping for the third consecutive year.

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