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Urban dysfunction: child abuse increases in cities


09:27, October 17, 2012

Many migrant workers' children are exposed to domestic violence in Beijing. (Photo: The Beijing News)

( -- The number of juveniles falling victim to domestic violence is now growing faster in China's cities than in its rural areas, according to a report released by the Beijing Children's Legal Aid and Research Center.

The center investigated 429 domestic violence cases between January 2008 and June 2012 in which juveniles were victims. It found that 51.75 percent of the cases in the first half of this year had taken place in cities, up 6.75 percent from the same period last year.

The result was surprising: It had long been taken for granted that violence against children was more prominent in the countryside, where parents are less educated and more influenced by traditional ideas such as "spare the rod, spoil the child."

Yet intensified rural-urban migration and the mounting pressures of city life have caused the situation to change, China Youth Daily reports.

On October 8, the father of a six-year-old girl who died after six hours of physical punishment was detained for the charge of abuse. It was just one among many other similar cases this year.

On July 8, a 13-year-old girl in Qingdao, Shandong Province, jumped off a building and killed herself, leaving behind a three-page suicide note accusing her parents of violence and abuse.

A policeman who handled the case said the girl was found next to a tree with contusions and abrasions all over her body. At first nobody believed that her father was the murderer, but it was later determined that he was in fact the cause of it, the policeman said.

Child abuse has become a knotty problem in recent years, because it's hard to detect and can easily result in tragedy, said Zhang Xuemei, deputy director of the Beijing Children's Legal Aid and Research Center.

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