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2014年6月 8日 (日)

厚木男児放置死 関係機関の連携で再発を防げ

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Teamwork among related organizations essential to prevent child abuse deaths
厚木男児放置死 関係機関の連携で再発を防げ

It was a horrifying incident.
 あまりに痛ましい事件である。

The body of a boy reduced to a skeleton was discovered in an apartment in Atsugi, Kanagawa Prefecture, late last month. His 36-year-old father has been arrested on suspicion of abandoning the child and causing his death.
 神奈川県厚木市のアパートで、幼い男児の白骨遺体が見つかり、36歳の父親が保護責任者遺棄致死容疑で逮捕された。

The father is suspected of having killed his then 5-year-old son about seven years ago by leaving him alone in the apartment without adequate food and water.
 食事や水を十分に与えず放置し、約7年前に当時5歳の男児を死亡させた疑いがある。

Over a period of about two months leading up to the boy’s death, the father went to the apartment only once or twice a week and was reportedly aware that the boy “would die from prostration in due course.” This is nothing less than a despicable act. Even after the boy’s death, the suspect continued to pay rent for the apartment so “the body would not be found.”
 父親は、男児が死亡する前の約2か月間は、週1、2回しか帰宅せず、「いずれ衰弱して死ぬ」と認識していたという。無責任と言うほかない。死亡後も「死体が見つからないように」と、アパートの家賃を払い続けていた。

Was it not possible to prevent the boy’s death? It has been revealed that the organizations concerned mishandled the situation as they overlooked various danger signals in connection with the case.
 男児の死亡は防げなかったのか。いくつものシグナルを見過ごした関係機関の不手際も、浮かび上がってきている。

When he was 3, the boy was discovered wandering along a road barefoot before dawn and was taken into protective custody temporarily at the Atsugi child center. The following day, the boy was handed over to his mother. But members of these organizations did not visit the boy’s home after that and they tried in vain to confirm the whereabouts of the boy several years later.
 男児は3歳の時、未明に裸足はだしで路上にいるところを住民に発見され、厚木児童相談所が「迷子」として一時保護した。翌日、母親に引き渡した後、家庭訪問を行わず、数年後に男児の所在をつかもうとしたが、できなかった。

The Atsugi municipal government and the city’s Board of Education were also aware that the boy did not undergo medical examinations as a baby and infant and had not entered primary school.
 厚木市と市教育委員会は、男児が乳幼児健診を受けていないことや、小学校に入学していないことを把握していた。

Information-sharing vital

However, these organizations had not shared such information until recently and did not carry out a thorough investigation to confirm the boy’s safety. Therefore, they cannot escape criticism for lacking awareness of possible consequences. It was natural for Health, Labor and Welfare Minister Norihisa Tamura and Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology Minister Hakubun Shimomura to emphasize the need for “bolstering cooperation among the organizations concerned.”
 ところが、これらの機関は最近まで情報を共有せず、安否確認を徹底しなかった。危機感が欠如していたとの批判は免れまい。田村厚生労働相と下村文部科学相が「関係機関の連携強化」を表明したのは、当然である。

The Atsugi case is one of a series of nationwide incidents in which unaccounted-for infants died after being abused.
 所在不明児の虐待死事件が、全国で相次いで発覚している。

In Tondabayashi, Osaka Prefecture, a boy was discovered missing in April 2012, when he would have been 9. His relatives said they buried his body when he was 5 months old. In Yokohama, it came to light in April last year that a 6-year-old girl who did not attend primary school had died after being abused.
 大阪府富田林市で2012年4月、9歳になっているはずの男児が行方不明であることが分かり、親族が生後5か月時に遺体を埋めたと供述した。横浜市でも昨年4月、学校に通っていなかった6歳女児の虐待死が明るみに出た。

According to a Yomiuri Shimbun survey conducted last November, babies and infants whose whereabouts were unknown came to more than 4,000 nationwide.
 読売新聞が昨年11月に実施した調査によると、自治体が所在を確認できない乳幼児は全国で4000人を超える。

The health ministry called on local governments in April to conduct a fact-finding survey regarding unaccounted-for children aged under 18. The ministry will review safety-confirmation methods and look into problematic points. We hope the ministry will work out effective measures to prevent such tragedies.
 厚労省は4月、18歳未満の所在不明の子供について実態調査を行うよう自治体に求めた。安否確認の方法や問題点も検証する。悲劇を繰り返さぬよう、有効な対策を打ち出してもらいたい。

To prevent child abuse, it is essential to establish a system that would make it possible to discover parents who are anxious over, or have difficulties with, child-rearing at an early stage and provide them with adequate assistance. Some municipalities are attempting to set up a system under which administrative offices for child-rearing will be integrated to keep an eye on parents and their children from the time of pregnancy.
 虐待防止には、育児に不安や困難を抱える親を早期に発見し、適切な支援につなぐ体制が重要だ。子育て施策の窓口を一本化し、妊娠期から親子を見守る仕組み作りに取り組む自治体もある。

As for single-parent households, there is an assistance system under which they are entitled to have their children enter day care centers on a priority basis and child-care helpers are sent to them on a temporary basis. Local governments must strive to make such a system more widely known.
 ひとり親家庭には、保育所の優先入所やヘルパーの一時派遣などの支援制度もある。自治体は、その周知にも努めるべきだ。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, June 7, 2014)

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