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A study on child abuse prevention and abused children protection and support policies based on the occurrence structure of child abuse: Focusing on child abuse within the Child Care Centers 사진
A study on child abuse prevention and abused children protection and support policies based on the occurrence structure of child abuse: Focusing on child abuse within the Child Care Centers
  • LanguageKorean
  • Authors Youngoh Hong, Nanghee Kim, Misook Park, Jihyun Choo, Yoon, Sookyung, Kim, Chunrye
  • Date December 31, 2023
  • Hit79

Abstract

  According to <2022 Key Child Abuse Statistics> published by the Ministry of Health and Welfare, there were a total of 37,605 cases of child abuse in case judgments made through child protection agencies in 2022. Cases of child abuse continued to increase to 18,700 in 2016, 22,367 in 2017, 24,605 in 2018, 30,045 in 2019, 30,905 in 2020, and 37,605 in 2021, before decreasing to 27,971 in 2022.


  Most abusers in child abuse cases in 2022 are parents (82.7%), but the next highest rate is abuse by surrogate caregivers such as kindergarten faculty, childcare faculty, foster parents, and workers at related facilities (10.9%), In order to prevent and respond to child abuse, attention must be paid to the occurrence of child abuse not only at home but also at childcare facilities that provide surrogate childcare.


  In 2022, the effectiveness of preventive policies against child abuse in daycare centers continues to be questioned, with cases such as the child abuse case of a childcare teacher at a family daycare center in Yangsan and the child abuse case of a childcare teacher at a daycare center in Saha-gu, Busan, being reported through the media and online communities.


  In spite of the continuous changes in the legal system and policies for early intervention of child abuse, child abuse continues to occur despite the enactment of the Child Welfare Act in 2000, and the enactment of the Special Act on the Punishment of Child Abuse Crimes in 2014, which strengthened the punishment of child abuse perpetrators.


  In order to build a fundamental child abuse prevention and protection support policy for children who are abused, rather than strengthening the punishment of child abuse perpetrators, it is necessary to identify the reality of child abuse and analyze the structure of its occurrence to find fundamental countermeasures. Through an in-depth analysis of the causes and factors of neglect, abandonment, and physical and mental violence against children, we aimed to diagnose the underlying structures in which child abuse occurs within the home or in early childhood care institutions such as daycare centers and kindergartens. These structures include existing family systems such as marriage and adoption, policies on child care services for children, and labor, social welfare, and education systems and policies surrounding child care, such as employment types and treatment of child care workers, and extend to the social structure of discourse on child care and child rearing, such as parents’ and guardians’ social attitudes toward child rearing and the social value of child care work. A sociostructural approach to the development of child abuse can provide direction and concrete measures for response policies, not only in terms of judicial policies, but also in terms of social welfare and labor policies.


  Currently, there are differences between families and child care institutions (daycare centers), where child abuse mainly occurs, in terms of their occurrence structure, factors, and responses. Therefore, following the study of child abuse in families in the first year, this study aimed to identify the actual situation, causes, and factors of child abuse in child care centers in the second year, and to propose differentiated improvement measures through in-depth analysis.


  To accomplish these goals, this study focused on the following issues.


  First, we examined the incidence of child abuse in childcare centers and the characteristics of childcare staff as abusers. Specifically, the main statistics on child abuse published by the Ministry of Health and Welfare (2018~2022) were used to analyze the location of child abuse, the relationship between abusers and victims, the relationship between abusers and victims in repeat cases, and the relationship between deceased children and abusers. Statistics on abuse cases by childcare staff were not provided in the main statistics on child abuse after 2018, so we were forced to analyze only the statistics from 2012 to 2017 through the Child Abuse Status Report (2012-2017) before the main statistics on child abuse.


  Second, we analyzed issues related to child abuse in daycare centers reported in the media. Through big data analysis, we discovered issues related to child abuse in daycare centers that are not revealed in quantitative studies.


  Third, we identified the incidence and punishment of child abuse in childcare centers. For cases, we focused on victim characteristics, facility characteristics, and issues in the case, and for defendants, we identified defendant characteristics, labor conditions, abuse characteristics, sentences, temporary measures, and administrative penalties for facilities.


  Fourth, we examined parents’ perceptions of child abuse by childcare workers in daycare centers. In 2021, South Korea became the 62nd country in the world to ban corporal punishment when it passed an amendment to the Civil Code to prohibit all corporal punishment of children. Nevertheless, child abuse in daycare centers can be defined and judged differently, especially depending on the difference between parents’ perspectives and daycare teachers’ perspectives, so we examined the difference between parents’ perspectives and daycare centers’ perspectives in judging child abuse by examining the level of parents’ awareness of negligent guidance, a concept that is distinct from child abuse.


  Fifth, we examined the response system to child abuse in daycare centers, which is divided into a child abuse investigation system centered on the city, county, and district, and a case management system centered on specialized child protection agencies, as well as policies related to child abuse in daycare centers and the status of major systems for preventing child abuse in daycare centers.


  Sixth, from a socio-structural perspective on child abuse in daycare centers, we examined the causes of child abuse in daycare centers and various opinions on support for child abuse protection in daycare centers. 


  Seventh, we identified the realities of child abuse that were not identified through specialized child protection organizations by asking the general public about their perceptions of abuse by situation in daycare centers and kindergartens, as well as their general perceptions of abuse, special cases of child abuse crimes and procedures, procedures for protecting victimized children, and perceptions of the Child Abuse Punishment Act.


  Eighth, we examined the status of child abuse in childcare centers abroad and their prevention policies. We examined the vulnerability and risk factors of child abuse and child abuse prevention policies by country (US, Canada, UK, Australia), focusing on the mandatory reporting system.


  Finally, based on the above research, we proposed policies to prevent child abuse in childcare centers.


  The main findings of the study are as follows.


  ○ Current status of child abuse in child care institutions


- Of the 27,971 total cases of child abuse in 2022, the most cases occurred within the home at 22,738 (81.3%), followed by 1,654 cases at school (5.9%), 1,353 cases near the house or on the road (4.8%), and 613 cases at daycare centers. case (2.2%).


- The rate of abuse occurring in daycare centers was 2019 (4.6%) from 2018 to 2022, followed by 2018 and 2021 (3.3%), 2022 (2.2%), and 2020 (2.1%), with the number of cases in 2019. There were 1,371 cases, 658 cases in 2020, 1,233 cases in 2021, and 613 cases in 2022.


  ○ Major issues related to child abuse in child care institutions


- As a result of keyword trend analysis, there were a total of 4,707 articles related to daycare center abuse reported in the media over the past 14 years (2010~2023.9). Looking at the macroscopic change trend, an upward trend can be seen, with the number of daycare center abuse cases increasing in 2023 compared to 2010. It was found that the number of articles related to has increased by more than 10 times.


- As a result of examining the relationship between people, institutions, places, and keywords related to child abuse in daycare centers, the keyword with the highest weight was found to be daycare teacher. Looking at the relationships between terms derived from daycare teachers, terms related to punishment were closely related. appeared to be related.


  ○ Survey of parents’ perceptions of corporal punishment, discipline, and child abuse


- Looking at perceptions of corporal punishment, the percentage of respondents who responded that corporal punishment was discipline when it was carried out under the condition that parents’ clear standards and explanations for corporal punishment and children themselves understand the purpose of discipline and acknowledge what they did wrong, that is, whether corporal punishment is appropriate The proportion of parents who believe that it is discipline if done through a process was found to be as high as 60%. On the other hand, when a child's behavior was corrected through corporal punishment, that is, the percentage of disagreement was somewhat high with the opinion that corporal punishment was considered discipline depending on the results.


- Regarding the effectiveness of corporal punishment, the percentage of people who agree that corporal punishment will reduce anti-social behavior or help children grow is around 25%, showing that the percentage of parents who think that corporal punishment is effective is still high. In the case of the legitimacy of corporal punishment, the number of respondents who disagreed was high at 79%, but when corporal punishment was used to correct violent behavior, the proportion of opinions that believed that corporal punishment was justified reached 48.1%. In other words, although there is a predominant negative view on corporal punishment of children, some respondents nevertheless showed an ambivalent attitude, recognizing that corporal punishment can be a legitimate method of discipline in some cases.


- It was recognized that there were differences in the reasons why parents and daycare and kindergarten teachers use corporal punishment. Teachers at daycare centers and kindergartens were found to be aware that they were using corporal punishment for reasons other than disciplinary purposes to correct children’s behavior.


  ○ Current status of child abuse in child care institutions through analysis of rulings


- In the case of child abuse in daycare centers, physical and emotional abuse accounted for the majority, which was similar to other forms of child abuse. However, the rate of murder, abandonment of a corpse, resulting in injury or involving sexual abuse, and the rate of defendants with a history of crime and investigation were significantly lower than those of domestic child abuse, and cases where serious injury or habitual injury under the Child Abuse Punishment Act were recognized. There was not a single case.


- The rate of acquittal, appointment of a defense attorney, and appeal in the first trial was higher than that of domestic child abuse, and the main issue of dispute at this time was the legitimacy of discipline, and the rate was also higher than that of domestic child abuse.


- Persons in positions that require considerable attention and supervision to prevent abusive behavior, such as directors and facility managers, were indicted on child abuse charges while directly participating in child care, accounting for 8.5% of all cases.


  ○ Current status of child abuse in daycare centers through in-depth interviews with those involved in child abuse at daycare centers


- In situations before child abuse occurs, children with special needs tend to increase due to changes in the social environment such as COVID-19 and low birth rates. They are forced into society at an early age and forced to live in groups, and their basic rights are violated due to poor childcare environments. It's in a situation. Parents of children entrust childcare to daycare centers, but with limited exposure to childcare and childcare information, understanding of daycare centers decreases, resulting in friction. Sometimes, when a childcare teacher suspects that his or her child has a developmental delay, it is difficult to accept this and some blame the teacher. Before child abuse occurs, the childcare teacher is under considerable childcare stress.


- In the process of suspecting, reporting, and investigating child abuse at daycare centers, victimized children are exposed to additional damage and are marginalized in the process of handling child abuse cases. Responses to not only direct victims but also indirect victims are needed, but are being neglected. Even if the family suspects child abuse and wants to view CCTV, they feel a significant burden because if they request this, their trust relationship with the daycare center will end. As child abuse became an issue at the daycare center, they became distant from the parent community, and it was difficult to transfer to another daycare center due to the stigma of being an eccentric parent.


- Before and after child abuse lawsuits at daycare centers, children sometimes do not receive appropriate services due to vague standards for treatment support, and disabled children sometimes experience discrimination, with abusers receiving relatively minor punishments when abuse is judged. The victim's family was in a situation where the entire family became a victim and their family resilience collapsed, and they experienced difficulties as they were unable to find an alternative after reporting child abuse. In this process, trust in government policies decreases. The teacher also had no support system, and even if a decision was made not to be charged, he did not receive any compensation for the process so far.


  ○ Policy recommendations through big data analysis


  It is necessary to ensure that social attention to child abuse in daycare centers is sustained and not just a reaction to a single, issue-driven incident. To achieve this, it is necessary for the government to continue to focus on the issue and draw attention to it through policy formulation, publicity, etc.


  The focus on punishing perpetrators needs to shift to addressing the underlying issues. Child abuse in daycare centers is multi-dimensional and cannot be solved by increasing punishment of the perpetrators alone, but requires a multidimensional approach to children, parents, and daycare workers.


  As case management is centered on the victimized child, support for the victim’s parents is practically inadequate. In the case of child abuse in childcare centers, there is a need for a governmental alternative to include the parents of the victims in the recovery support, not just the children.


  ○ Policy recommendations based on the analysis of judgments


  Child abuse in daycare centers was more likely to involve multiple victims in the same facility than child abuse in the home, with complicity contributing to the occurrence of multiple victims of four or more. Reflecting a situation where abuse persists with the mutual acquiescence of child care workers, organizational issues that increase the likelihood of abuse occurring, such as isolated child care work and poor working conditions that lack mutual support, need to be addressed.


  The role of managers in regularly checking in with child care workers about their difficulties and providing alternatives to prevent abuse is noted as important, but there is also a need for ways to monitor their behavior.


  In addition, defendants accused of child abuse in daycare centers were significantly less likely to be represented by a public defender than those accused of child abuse in the home, indicating a greater financial burden for private counsel. Legal support (appointment of defense counsel), psychological support, scope and standards should be established for childcare teachers.


  ○ Policy recommendations through in-depth interviews


  Improvements to prevent child abuse in daycare centered on improving the general childcare environment. The main themes were “open and cooperative childcare,” “childcare that considers developmental levels,” “strengthening childcare expertise,” “improving teacher working conditions,” “practical preventive education,” “strengthening managerial leadership,” and “monitoring by objective outsiders.”


  In the process of suspecting, reporting, and investigating child abuse in daycare centers, alternatives to procedural support include a child-centered perspective, support for child abuse reporting procedures, protection of whistleblowers, establishment of mediation mechanisms, and participation of childcare professionals in case decisions.


  Alternatives for protecting and supporting children in childcare centers and preventing re-abuse include: “expanding budgets and infrastructure,” “familycentered care,” “strengthening treatment to prevent re-abuse,” and “establishing a specialized response system for childcare centers.”


  ○ Conclusion


  Finally, by synthesizing the findings of the first and second years, we summarized the child abuse response system, presented the differential characteristics and responses to child abuse at home and child abuse in childcare institutions, and emphasized the need to change the perception of corporal punishment, the legalization of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child and child rights, and the importance of active psychotherapy for abused children.

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