Thursday, 22 May 2014 - 11:17
Abused children not helped by municipalities: Official
Three-quarters of Dutch municipalities have measures on paper that are meant to prevent child abuse, but half of these have no idea how many abused children live in their municipality, according to research from child ombudsman Marc Dullaert. Risk groups are not sufficiently visible, and the effects of prevention programs are unclear in three-quarters of the municipalities. From January onwards, municipalities will be given all the responsibility to make sure child abuse is registered, dealt with and that parents and children receive help. Evey year, 118,000 children become the victims of abuse, maltreatment, negligence, or are witness to violence between partners. "I am afraid that you can double this figure, because not everything is reported", Dullaert tells. According to Het Parool, an estimated 50 children die every year as a result of abuse. Municipalities must halve the number of child abuse cases within three years, Dullaert says. "This research is a wake-up call, but we offer a prevention packet at the same time." According to the research, Amsterdam is in the "better middle bracket" for child abuse cases, "comparable to Utrecht." Information about the so-called 'shaken baby syndrome', shelter for children who are witness to domestic violence and help for families who land in community care homes, often due to poverty, is well spread in Amsterdam, Het Parool reports. There could be improvement for child rearing support for parents, information about violence handed out at schools, and inspecting whether expecting mothers have a safe and secure home situation.