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2012年7月30日 (月)

児童虐待 通報を生かす態勢の拡充急げ

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Jul. 30, 2012)
System must be improved to utilize reports of child abuse
児童虐待 通報を生かす態勢の拡充急げ(7月29日付・読売社説)

To save small children from being abused, it is imperative for child consultation centers and neighbors to cooperate to quickly discover any abnormal goings-on.
 虐待されている乳幼児を救うには、児童相談所(児相)や地域が協力して、異変を早く発見することが重要だ。

The Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry has compiled the number of reports and consultations concerning maltreatment of children that were dealt with by child consultation centers throughout the country in fiscal 2011.
 厚生労働省が2011年度に全国の児相で対応した虐待の通報や相談件数をまとめた。

The total number stood at 59,862, an increase of about 3,500 from fiscal 2010. This was the 21st consecutive year to see a record high in such cases.
前年度を約3500件上回る、5万9862件に達し、過去最多を21年連続で更新した。

One factor behind the rise in child abuse cases may be heightened awareness among the public of the importance of making reports to concerned parties to prevent child abuse.
 要因には、虐待防止に向けて、社会の通報意識が高まっていることもあるだろう。

On July 25, the parents of a 1-year-old girl in Hyogo Prefecture were arrested for abusing her, and the girl was put under protection by a child welfare facility.
 今月25日、兵庫県で1歳の長女を虐待していた両親が逮捕され、子供は保護された。

What led to the parents' arrest was a report to police from a customer at a shop visited by the parents and their daughter. The customer was suspicious about bruises on the baby's face and reported the matter to police.
きっかけは、親子が訪れた店に居合わせた客が女児の顔のあざを不審に思い、警察に知らせたことだった。

===

Consultation centers sloppy

We should not hesitate to take such action, which many people are prone to consider meddlesome. The Child Abuse Prevention Law enacted in 2000 requires everyone to inform authorities of perceived cases of child abuse.
 こうした行動を、いらぬおせっかいと考えて躊躇(ちゅうちょ)してはならない。児童虐待防止法は関係機関への通告を義務づけている。

However, the problem is whether the higher consciousness of child abuse among the public can be adequately utilized to reduce the number of cases.
 問題は、社会の関心の高まりをきちんと生かせるかどうかだ。

A breakdown of child abuse cases in fiscal 2010 that was also released along with the figures for abuse cases in fiscal 2011 showed that 51 children died as a result of abuse across the country in fiscal 2010. Child consultation centers had obtained information about seven of the 51 before their deaths.
 併せて公表された10年度の虐待事例の分析によると、51人の子が虐待を受けて死亡し、うち7例は児相が情報をつかんでいた。

Recently, a 5-year-old boy died because of violence inflicted by his mother and her common-law husband on July 9 in Saitama Prefecture.
 最近も、今月9日に埼玉県で5歳男児が母親と内縁の夫に暴行され、死亡している。

The child consultation center concerned learned about the couple's abuse of the small boy and put him temporarily under protective custody. The center, however, subsequently decided that the danger of further abuse had lessened and returned him to the parents.
 児相は虐待を把握しており、一時保護もしたが、虐待の心配が少なくなったとみて、親元に帰していた。

The distressing result was primarily due to the misjudgment of the consultation center. An important lesson must be drawn from this tragedy and used to improve how child consultation centers respond to abuse.
結果的には児相の判断ミスと言えよう。教訓を今後の対応に生かさねばならない。

Child consultation centers have long had the structural problem of staff shortages.
 児相が抱える構造的な問題が人員不足である。

The numbers of reports and consultations regarding child abuse have increased to 2.6 times their level a decade ago, but the number of child welfare social workers is only 1.6 times the figure 10 years ago.
通報や相談件数はこの10年で2・6倍にもなっているのに、児童福祉司の増員は1・6倍にとどまっている。

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Suspension of parental rights

Without first securing a sufficient number of personnel capable of dealing with the initial stages of child abuse, it is hardly possible to effectively respond to serious child abuse cases. All prefectural governments and government ordinance-designated major cities should make a thorough review of the current placement of child welfare staffers, as beefing up personnel arrangements is an urgent issue.
 初期の通報や相談に対応できる人員をまず確保しなければ、深刻な事案にはなおのこと十分に対応できまい。都道府県や政令市は、職員の配置を見直し、態勢を拡充することが急務だ。

It was also worthy of note that 80 percent of fatalities from child abuse involve children under the age of 4. Especially conspicuous are cases of abuse by young parents whose children were born due to unwanted pregnancies.
 虐待による死亡例の8割が3歳以下に集中している。「望まない妊娠」で子を産んだ若い親が虐待するケースが目立つ。

In light of this, obstetricians and other medical staff should enhance their cooperation to prevent child abuse.
産婦人科など医療機関も連携を深め、虐待の予防に取り組んでもらいたい。

Another problem that should be addressed is the fact that some parents refuse intervention by child consultation centers and other child protection organs on the grounds of their parental rights.
 「親権」を盾に児相などの介入を拒む親もいる。

To cope with this situation, a new legal system was put into force in April, under which a family court can temporarily suspend parental rights if a petition is filed by the chief of a child consultation center. The system is designed to help parents who have abused their children rehabilitate themselves over a certain period of time.
 これに対し、児童相談所長などの申し立てがあれば、家庭裁判所が期限付きで親権を停止できる法的制度が今年4月からスタートした。ある程度の時間をおいて、虐待する親の更生を図るものだ。

There were seven such petitions from the heads of child consultation centers from April to June.
 4~6月の3か月だけで、児童相談所長から7件の申し立てが出ている。

The system should be fully utilized to help rebuild parent-child relations that could otherwise plunge into tragedy of child abuse.
親子関係の再建につなげる方策として活用したい。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, July 29, 2012)
(2012年7月29日02時25分  読売新聞)

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