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児童虐待多発 立ち入り調査権を機能させよ

(Aug. 4, 2010)
Help authorities protect children
児童虐待多発 立ち入り調査権を機能させよ(8月3日付・読売社説)

A 3-year-old girl and her 1-year-old brother were recently found dead, their bodies close together, in a room without food or water.
 3歳と1歳の幼い姉弟が、水も食べ物もない部屋で寄り添うように死んでいた。

The children's bodies were discovered Friday in an Osaka apartment. Their 23-year-old mother, who had left them unattended in the room for more than a month in scorching heat, was quoted by police as saying, "It was fun to go to host clubs [high-class drinking establishments that provide female customers with male companions] and I got tired of taking care of my children."
 見つかったのは大阪市内のマンションである。猛暑の中、1か月以上、2人を置き去りにした23歳の母親は、警察に対して「ホストクラブで遊ぶのが楽しく育児が面倒になった」と話しているという。

There has recently been a series of child abuse cases so dreadful we cringe in horror.
 目を覆いたくなるような、子どもの虐待事件が相次いでいる。

In June, a 5-year-old girl in Kurume, Fukuoka Prefecture, died after continual abuse, including being thrown into a washing machine by her mother with her hands and legs tied.
 福岡県久留米市で5歳の女の子が、母親に手足を縛られて洗濯機に入れられるなどの虐待を受け続け、命を奪われた。

In December, a 14-month-old girl in Yokohama suffocated after being confined in a wooden box by her mother and the man who lived with her.
 横浜市では、母親らによって1歳2か月の女児が木箱に閉じこめられ、窒息死した。

Last month, a man in Neyagawa, Osaka Prefecture, was arrested on suspicion of pouring lighter fluid on his 14-year-old son's back and setting him on fire.
 大阪府寝屋川市では、14歳の長男の背中にライター用のオイルをかけ、火を付けたとして父親が逮捕されている。

Reports of abuse soar

According to the Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry, child consultation centers around the country handled a record 44,210 cases of child abuse in fiscal 2009, about four times the number 10 years earlier.
 厚生労働省によると、2009年度の1年間に全国の児童相談所が対応した児童虐待事案は過去最多、4万4210件に上る。10年前の約4倍だ。

The increase can probably be attributed partly to an increased awareness of the issue in society, which has resulted in more reports to authorities that brought previously unknown cases to light. Looking at the hideous incidents that have occurred recently, however, it is difficult to escape the impression that child abuse has become more serious.
 件数の増加自体は、社会の関心が高まって通報が増え、水面下の虐待があぶり出された面もあるだろう。だが、最近の事件の陰惨さを見ると、児童虐待は深刻化している印象をぬぐえない。

The revised Child Abuse Prevention Law came into effect in April 2008, giving child consultation centers more authority to enter homes in cases of suspected child abuse.
 08年4月に改正児童虐待防止法が施行され、児童相談所の家庭への立ち入り権限が強化された。

However, there have only been three cases so far in this country in which center staff have forcibly entered homes where child abuse was suspected. A bigger number is not automatically better, but administrative efforts still appear to be half-hearted.
 しかし、これまで強制立ち入りに踏み切った事例は全国で3件にとどまる。多ければ良いというわけではないが、行政側がまだ及び腰なのではないか。

In the case of the two children in Osaka, the local child consultation center did not aggressively investigate the possibility of abuse even though it received many reports from neighbors who heard the children crying.
 大阪市のマンションに置き去りにされた姉弟のケースも、泣き声を聞いた近隣住民から何度も通報を受けたのに、児童相談所は強い姿勢で調査に臨まなかった。

Even though there might have been difficulties, such as identifying who lived in the apartment, it is possible the children could have been saved if the center had investigated a little more.
 居住者の特定など難しい点はあったにせよ、もう少し調査すれば助けられた可能性がある。

Make inspections easier

Some people have said it is difficult in reality for child consultation centers to exercise their right to forcibly inspect homes because they are short of staff and must fulfill strict requirements to obtain permission from the courts.
 強制立ち入りは裁判所の許可を得るまでの要件が厳しく、人手不足の中で、現実には行使しづらいとの指摘もある。

If that is the case, the government should relax the requirements and increase the number of staff at child consultation centers so the right to conduct inspections can be used effectively.
ならば、もっと要件を緩和し、児童相談所の人員も拡充して、立ち入り調査権が機能するようにすべきだろう。

What was neglected, what was missing and what was insufficient in the relevant systems, preventing the lives of the two children from being saved? This latest case must be fully examined.
 何を怠り、何が足りず、制度のどこが不備で幼い命を救えなかったのか。検証が必要だ。

The ministry has established a telephone line for reporting child abuse--(0570) 064-000--and is calling on the public to report even seemingly minor information. However, this will be meaningless if reports concerning child abuse are not properly followed up.
 厚労省は児童虐待通報の全国共通電話(0570・064・000)を設置し、小さな事でも知らせるよう呼びかけている。だが、通報が確実に生かされなければ意味がない。

The government should spare no expense to strengthen measures against child abuse.
態勢強化を図るための予算を惜しむべきではない。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Aug. 3, 2010)
(2010年8月3日01時41分 読売新聞)
[PR]

by kiyoshimat | 2010-08-04 06:21 | 英字新聞

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