Japanese police alerted child welfare centers of a record-high 122,806 suspected victims of abuse in 2023, up 6.1% from the previous year, amid growing concern and awareness about the abuse of minors, the National Police Agency said Thursday.

A record 2,385 criminal investigations into child abuse cases were conducted by police last year, up 9.4% from 2022, according to data compiled by the agency.

The number of children below age 18 who were referred to child welfare centers over psychological abuse rose to a record-high 90,761, including 52,611 who witnessed domestic violence against family members.

Those who were physically abused numbered 21,520, while 10,205 children experienced neglect or abandonment and 320 suffered sexual abuse.

Among the cases that led to criminal investigations, 1,903 children were subjected to physical abuse, 372 suffered sexual abuse, 65 experienced psychological abuse and 45 were neglected or abandoned.

Meanwhile, stalking consultations in the country increased for the first time in six years to 19,843 cases.

Prohibition orders also hit a record high of 1,963, surpassing the number of initial warnings issued by police since the revised stalking control law took effect in 2017. The legislative change enabled authorities to issue the more serious prohibition orders more quickly by allowing them to skip initial warnings.

Domestic violence consultations increased 4.9% from the previous year to 88,619 cases, with 70.5% of victims being women and 29.5% men.

The number of male domestic violence victims has increased yearly from 21.7% in 2019, which officials attribute to there being fewer hurdles to men making complaints.