High rate of abuse of multicultural kids seen

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High rate of abuse of multicultural kids seen

The number of children from multicultural families who end up sheltered in abuse centers is higher than that of other children in Korea, according to a joint report by the Ministry of Health and Welfare and the National Child Protection Agency.

The ministry announced Thursday that according to its 2009 survey of the country’s 45 child-protection agencies, 17.2 children among every 1,000 from multicultural homes in Korea go to a child-protection center, while the rate for children of all-Korean parents stood at 5.5 children among every 1,000. Among all the reported cases, eight children died from abuse last year, four of them from neglect.

One hundred eighty-one of the cases were reported from multicultural homes, amounting to 3.2 percent of all reported child-abuse cases. At present, more than 100,000 children in Korea, ranging from newborn through age 17, come from multicultural families.

“From past reports, we are able to see that there are many problems coming from cultural differences in multicultural homes, including feelings of alienation, language barriers and financial difficulties,” the report said.

The report also stated that the number of reported child-abuse cases in Korea grew 2.3 times to 9,309 last year, compared to 4,133 cases in 2001. The ministry, however, claims that the increase is due to more people reporting such cases, rather than a sudden increase in child abuse here.

“With the government revision of the child-protection law in 2000, child-protection agencies started forming nationwide. The strengthening of the child-protection law has raised public awareness of child abuse, so the number of reported cases has risen,” said Health and Welfare Minister Jeon Jae-hee. The child-protection agencies give safe haven to children who have been abused by a parent or parents.

The No. 1 type of abuse, 35.6 percent of all cases, was neglect or abandonment, followed by mental (including verbal) abuse, at 13.7 percent; physical abuse, at 5.9 percent; and sexual abuse, at 4.8 percent. In 40 percent of the cases reported to the centers, two or more forms of abuse were present. Also, 83.3 percent of the reported abusers were parents, while 6.8 percent were other relatives.

By Cho Jae-eun [jainnie@joongang.co.kr]
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