Child abuse cases awakens a sleeping dragon

The government, responding to growing interest in the death of a 10-year-old girl who was apparently terrorized by her father, called on child consultation centers and schools nationwide to immediately examine all suspected cases of child abuse.

 

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe chaired a meeting of Cabinet ministers involved in the issue on Feb. 8 to issue the directive. The meeting also approved a new set of rules in handling child abuse cases.

 

photo credit to: https://www.theguardian.com

 

Many of the changes were in direct response to some of the inadequacies in the case of Mia Kurihara, a fourth-grader in Noda, Chiba Prefecture, who was found dead in late January in the bathroom of her home. Her parents have been arrested on suspicion of inflicting bodily harm.

 

In July 2018, the government approved emergency measures to deal with child abuse following the heavily publicized case of a 5-year-old girl who died in Tokyo’s Meguro Ward and was found to have kept a notebook promising to behave better and begging her parents to love her.

 

One of the measures approved at that time was to conduct a search of the residence where a suspected child abuse case occurred if no confirmation can be made of the child’s safety within 48 hours after a child abuse report has been submitted.

 

 

If parents or guardians refuse to allow center or school officials to visit the home and meet with the child, those officials can immediately take the child into protective custody and conduct a search of the home in the belief that denial signals a high risk of abuse.

 

One problem that emerged in the handling of Mia’s case was the city board of education giving her father a copy of the questionnaire she filled out for the elementary school in which she wrote she had been physically abused.

 

Parents will no longer be told who first reported the suspected abuse nor will they be shown any relevant documents. If parents make threatening requests or show signs of violence, all relevant entities, from child consultation centers, schools and the police, will be asked to jointly handle the situation.

 

Reference: Horrific death of Mia, 10, a new wake-up call in child abuse cases

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