Seven out of 10 children who were abused by their parents nonetheless return to their care, according to a study, and 10 percent end up being abused again.
Lee Yeo-jin, a researcher with the National Assembly Research Service, analyzed data compiled by the Ministry of Health and Welfare and found that 83.1 percent of the 6,058 cases of child abuse in 2011 were committed by the child's parents, and 86.6 percent occurred at home.
But 72.6 percent of the children who were abused by their parents had to stay at their homes, even though they often needed therapy and medical treatment in the interim.
The report estimates that 2.51 million children were abused in 2011 alone.
Even if authorities took steps to deal with reported child abuse, 9.3 percent of those who were returned home from temporary shelters were then abused again.
Research by the Ministry of Health and Welfare shows that 85.6 percent of the abuse cases in 2011 were committed by parents, but 57.9 percent of the abused children were sent back home after getting some help from a counselor.
"If the abuse was not serious or if the child wants to go back home, we have no choice but to send them back," said a staffer at a childcare facility.
If children are severely beaten or neglected by their parents, welfare officers have the right to temporarily isolate the children and seek state permission to prevent the parents from exercising their rights. But only one such request was granted between 2001 to 2010, with another nine cases where a court decision restricted parental rights.
"If the abuse is severe, we can gain custody of a child and protect them for 72 hours in a state facility, but this usually leads to protests from parents, and as a result most abused children have to go back home," said Lee Ji-mee at the National Child Protection Agency.