Alarm as Dutch child abuse reports rise by 34pc

15th September 2004, Comments 0 comments

15 September 2004 , AMSTERDAM — The number of reports of physical or emotional abuse of children rose by 13 percent to some 28,000 cases last year and the number of cases has risen by 34 percent in comparison with 2000, the central reporting office AMK has revealed.

15 September 2004

AMSTERDAM — The number of reports of physical or emotional abuse of children rose by 13 percent to some 28,000 cases last year and the number of cases has risen by 34 percent in comparison with 2000, the central reporting office AMK has revealed.

The annual report by the Child Abuse and Reporting agency also indicated that 6,000 babies aged between 0-2 are known to have been physically abused last year, double the amount in 2000.

The abuse of babies and children aged 3-5 has sparked the most concern. "It is a growing source of concern as 20 percent of the reports are about babies. That is a lot. And the nature of the mistreatment is becoming more serious." AMK spokesman Gert van Harten said.

"It is sometimes really terrible injuries such as broken bones and severe head injuries. We don't know why this is occurring. But we are finding that the number of 'problem families' and the alcohol use by parents is increasing."

As the AMK can only count reported cases, it is not certain how many children are actually being mistreated. It is also difficult to prove guilt in child abuses cases, newspaper Algemeen Dagblad reported on Wednesday.

The total number of reported cases rose by 3,000 to 28,569 last year, but it is not clear if the number of children being abused is increasing or whether a campaign urging people to report crimes was a success last year. The campaign urged people to lodge a report, even if they had doubts over its legitimacy.

The campaign led to waiting lists at the AMK regional offices, but Van Harten said almost every Dutch province has increased funding for the reporting offices. He expects that waiting lists will be quickly reduced.

Emotional or physical neglect of children is also a growing problem, with AMK figures indicating that more than 50 percent of child abuse reports involve neglect. This could entail a lack of emotional security and attention or clothing, food and supervision. Sexual abuse reports have declined in recent years.

The AMK can be contacted by phone on 0900 123 123 0. The regional reporting offices will launch a new campaign in November to draw public attention to the plight of abused children.

[Copyright Expatica News 2004]

Subject: Dutch news

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