• Kyodo

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The number of child abuse cases police reported to juvenile consultation centers between January and June rose to a record 24,511, with psychological mistreatment comprising nearly 70 percent of the total, National Police Agency data showed Thursday.

The maltreatment of minors aged below 18 rose 42.3 percent from the same period last year, exceeding 20,000 for the first time since half-yearly data became available in 2011, according to the police.

The number of psychological abuse cases increased to 16,669, up 5,565 from a year earlier. Of those, 11,627 were cases involving children witnessing domestic violence, up 4,354.

Police opened criminal investigations into 512 cases of suspected child abuse during the six months, up 136.

Of the 512 cases, 415 were cases of physical mistreatment, including 26 cases of murder or attempted murder. The 512 cases also included 70 cases of sexual abuse, 16 cases of psychological maltreatment and 11 cases where minors were deprived of basic care such as being provided with food, clean clothes or educational services.

To better deal with child abuse, the national police in April notified police forces across the nation to share information on suspected abuse cases with municipalities and consultation centers.

The Diet revised the child abuse prevention law in May, allowing welfare authorities to intervene and enter homes after obtaining court warrants if they suspected child abuse is taking place.

The Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry created a three-digit hotline in July last year — it was previously a 10-digit number — to make it easier for cases to be reported.

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