Nearly 160,000 child abuse cases were handled by child consultation centers nationwide in fiscal 2018, marking a new high due to a rise in psychological abuse reports, the health ministry's preliminary data showed Thursday.

The number of cases increased 26,072 from a year earlier to 159,850, up for the 28th straight year since comparable data became available in fiscal 1990.

Psychological abuse, including witnessing acts of domestic violence and verbal abuse, accounted for 55.3 percent of the total, or 88,389 cases, up 16,192 from the previous year.