Most child abuse occurs in the home, a recent report confirms. According to the report by the Ministry of Health and Welfare, 83.3 percent of abusers are the child's own parents, and 87.2 percent of child abuse occurs at home.
A total of 9,309 cases of child abuses were reported last year, a 2.3-fold increase from 4,133 in 2001. The number of children abused in welfare facilities also rose 2.7 times from 2,105 to 5,685. "Child abuse is on the increase, probably because of a rise in weak family structures resulting from divorce and remarriage and more poverty-stricken households," a spokesman for a child welfare center run by the Seoul Metropolitan Government said.
Multiple abuses accounted for 39.4 percent or 2,238 cases, followed by negligence (35.6 percent or 2,025 cases), emotional abuse (13.7 percent), physical abuse (5.9 percent), sexual abuse (4.8 percent), and desertion (0.6 percent).
Experts believe that many cases of child abuse by parents are not reported. Last year 581 children were mistreated again after returning from protection facilities, but only a very limited number of abusing parents lost custody. "The laws should be revised in such a way as to force abusers to receive education and treatment and ensure that parental rights can be taken away or limited for habitual abusers," a child protection agency official said.