It is well known that the vast majority of child abuse occurs in the family, which makes it hard to detect in the early stage. Especially, abuse of preschool children, including infants and toddlers, can cause the most serious harm to the victim, not least because preschoolers are incapable of self-defense and are vulnerable to life-threatening abuse and neglect. Against this backdrop, this study aims to make suggestions on policies for victim protection and support by examining the characteristics of diverse forms of child abuse. For this purpose, the study conducted a survey on investigation and trial records of child abuse cases involving victims under age 7. The records include cases where a conviction was made for a violation of Child Welfare Act or a violation of Act on Special Cases Concerning the Punishment, etc. of Child Abuse Crimes between 2011 and 2015. Also, this study conducted interviews of practitioners in the field of child abuse victim protection and support, including child protection agents, police officers, prosecutors, and judges.
The results are as follows: first, about a half of the examined child abuse cases show some degree of continued abuse. Among the cases involving continued abuse, 21.9% were found to have continued for a long period more than 6 months, while approximately 47% were reported to have the duration of abuse for less than 1 month. Second, the socio-demographic and socio-economic characteristics of abusers suggest that poverty and insecure life circumstances can be contributing factors of child abuse. Among familial abuse cases, approximately 18% of the perpetrators were reported to have had mental disorders at the time of the crimes. Also, more than 30% of the familial abusers were found to have abused the victims under the influence of alcohol. Third, the percentage of victims under age 1 was higher among intrafamilial abuse cases than among extrafamilial abuse cases. In addition, the most serious cases of child abuse resulting in deaths were found to have occurred in the family.
The interviews of practitioners in the field show that the major problems in the system of child abuse victim protection and support are as follows: first, confusion in the roles of child protection agency and the police at the stage of case reporting; second, lack of protection and support services tailored to the special needs of young children under age 7; third, lack of service provided after the completion of child victim protection orders; fourth, lack of education and treatment of abusers for the purpose of curbing reoffense; and fifth, lack of victim protection measures in extrafamilial abuse cases including day care center cases.
This study concludes with a set of suggestions on policies for victim protection and support in child abuse cases involving young children under age 7 as follows: first, the development of practical manuals for the police and child protection agents; second, the effective provision of support services to the victim by making more use of the case management committee; third, effective victim support and assistance in case investigation and trial; fourth, the establishment of institutions for accommodation and protection of child victims and the provision of medical care; fifth, the expansion of foster care for child victims separated from parents for a long term; sixth, the strengthening of post-investigation support and monitoring, including family support services; seventh, the provision of effective treatment and education for abusers with the purpose of the preservation of the family; and eighth, the establishment of a comprehensive welfare system for victim protection and support.
Table Of Contents
Ⅱ. 영유아학대 관련 논의
Ⅲ. 영유아 학대의 특성-수사재판기록조사를 중심으로
Ⅳ. 영유아학대 피해자에 대한 보호 및 지원 실태