The number of child abuse cases in Japan rose 11,510 in fiscal 2022 from the previous year to 219,170, government data shows.
The number of cases handled by child consultation centers nationwide hit its highest for the 32nd straight year since the statistics began in fiscal 1990, according to the preliminary data released Thursday by the Children and Families Agency.
In the year that ended in March 2023, over half of the total cases were reported by police to child consultation centers. The agency noted increasing awareness about child abuse prevention at various organizations.
By category, cases involving psychological abuse, including verbal threats and children witnessing domestic violence, increased 4,760 to 129,484, representing nearly 60% of all cases.
The number of physical abuse cases grew 2,438 to 51,679. Neglect cases stood at 35,556, up 4,108, and sexual abuse cases were up 204, at 2,451.
The share of child abuse cases reported by police was 51.5%, while 11.0% were reported by neighbors or acquaintances.
Police are filing more reports to child consultation centers when they find children believed to have witnessed domestic violence during their visits to people who called police over such violence.
Meanwhile, an expert committee within the agency said that 74 children died of abuse in fiscal 2022, down by three from the previous year.
Excluding family suicide cases, such deaths numbered 50. Of them, about 30% were cases in which mothers or other caregivers had unexpected pregnancies. Another 30% were cases in which mothers had not received prenatal checkups.
For this reason, the committee said that local governments should strengthen support for women both during and after pregnancy.