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2009年8月28日 (金)

児童虐待増加―問題の芽を摘む態勢を

--The Asahi Shimbun, Aug. 27(IHT/Asahi: August 28,2009)
EDITORIAL: Rise in child abuse cases
児童虐待増加―問題の芽を摘む態勢を

The number of children dying at the hands of abusive parents and guardians is rising. Slightly more than 100 children are losing their lives to abuse each year. The figure, which includes those caught up in family murder-suicides, means that on average two children are being killed each week.
 虐待で亡くなる子が減らない。心中も含めると年100人余。1週間に2人の子の命が失われている計算だ。

Cases into which child guidance centers investigate are also on the rise. In fiscal 2008, centers across Japan handled some 43,000 cases, a record high and a six-fold increase from 10 years before. We are appalled at the number of parents who use force against their children or neglect to properly care for them.
 児童相談所が乗り出す案件も増え続けている。虐待について昨年度に受けた相談は約4万3千件と過去最多になった。10年前の6倍だ。わが子に暴力を振るったり養育を放棄したりする親の多さに、心が凍る思いだ。

Since the child abuse prevention law went into effect in 2000, the government has strengthened the authority of child guidance centers in phases. Since 2004, abused children can be admitted to child welfare facilities without the consent of parents so long as the action has court approval. Starting spring 2008, in cases where child abuse is suspected and guardians refuse to cooperate with authorities, the centers have been empowered to break locks and enter homes with court permission.
 児童虐待防止法は、00年の施行以来、段階的に相談所の権限を強めてきた。04年からは裁判所の承認があれば、保護者の同意なしで子どもを施設に入所させられるようになった。昨春からは、父母らが話し合いに応じない場合、裁判所の許可を受け、錠を壊してでも家に立ち入れるようになった。

There were two such cases in fiscal 2008. In the Tohoku region, a girl of lower grade of elementary school age was taken into protective custody. Although she had not been to school at all, in two months after entering a children's home, she was able to read and write hiragana. Her parents reacted with hostility at first, but eventually relented and agreed to her admittance to the children's home.
 強制立ち入りは昨年度で2件あった。東北地方の例では、小学校低学年の女の子が保護された。学校に全く通っていなかったが、施設に入って2カ月でひらがなの読み書きができるようになった。父母もその後、攻撃的な態度をやわらげ、施設入所に同意した。

The local child guidance center had been in contact with the girl's family for several years but was unable to even meet with them. That prompted officials to raid the house.
 この相談所は女の子の家族に数年間接触していたが、面会すら出来なくなったことから強制立ち入りを決断した。警察の指導で予行演習もした。

"When we use force, relations with guardians tend to deteriorate. We try to avoid it as much as possible but we made an agonizing choice for the sake of the child," the director of the center said.
 「実力行使をすると、保護者と関係が悪くなることが多い。できるだけ避けたいが、子どものため苦渋の選択をした」と所長は話す。

However, for children to recover from the trauma of abuse, welfare facilities do not always provide adequate settings. Nationwide, such facilities are nearly full and in some areas, they are packed beyond capacity. There are only 31 medical facilities across the nation that can provide intensive care to children suffering from the trauma of abuse.
 だが虐待を受けた子が後遺症から回復するには、施設も十分な環境とはいえない。全国的に施設は満杯に近く、地域によっては定員を上回る。心に傷を負った子らに集中的に対処できる治療施設は全国で31カ所しかない。

Child welfare facilities need to drastically increase their staff numbers, especially with regard to psychologists and psychiatrists who specialize in treating abused children. Each caseworker at child guidance centers handles about 100 cases. The figure is more than double that of the United States and Europe. Even though the number of staff has increased over the past 10 years, it has yet to catch up with the steep rise in child abuse cases.
 多くの子が入る養護施設では、心理職や児童精神科医など専門家の大幅増が必要だろう。児童相談所の児童福祉司らは1人で100件ほどを担当している。欧米の倍以上だ。この10年で職員数が増えているとはいえ、件数の急増には追いついていない。

While action must be taken to separate and protect such children from their parents, the important thing is to work toward providing support until children and parents can be reunited. Society must help by supporting neighbors facing family problems and poverty.
 親と引き離して保護するだけでなく、親子が再び一緒に暮らせるようになるまで支援を続けることが重要であることは、言うまでもない。親たちが抱える家族や貧困などの問題を探り、解決する社会的努力も不可欠だ。

In cases of death resulting from causes other than murder-suicides in families, 80 percent of the victims were children 3 years old or younger. Nearly half of them were not even 1 year old. In many cases, they are children of unwanted pregnancies or the mothers have mental problems, officials say.
 心中以外で死亡した事例を見ると、3歳までの子が8割で、ゼロ歳児が半数近い。母親が望まぬ妊娠をしていたり、精神的に問題があったりすることが多いという。

As a measure to prevent child abuse, local governments across Japan are initiating programs to ensure that all families of newborns are visited by an official within four months of birth. Officials speak to parents and listen to their anxieties and problems concerning child care and, if necessary, refer them to nonprofit organizations, welfare programs, hospitals or other organizations that specialize in child-care problems. Such systems will prove more effective if they are put to practice from pregnancy.
 虐待の予防策として各地の自治体が、赤ちゃんが生まれて4カ月以内に全家庭を訪問する事業を始めている。育児の不安や悩みを聞き、NPOや福祉事業、病院などにつなげる目的だ。この態勢を妊娠期から始めれば、より効果的だろう。

Local community networks should watch over young parents with problems in an effort to reduce as many victims of child abuse as possible.
 問題を抱えた若い親を地域のネットワークで見守り、傷つく子を一人でも減らしたい。

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