Number of abused children much higher than statistics show, say childcare experts

Childcare experts estimate the number of abused children in Romania is 50 times higher than official statistics show, with a research to be undertaken in all the Balkan countries, based on European funds, for obtaining more accurate data.

‘We believe that what has been reported by the National Authority for Protection of Child Rights is representing only the tip of the iceberg, for there are no sufficient mechanisms for reporting all cases of child abuse, neglect and maltreatment right now.
We suspect the real figure of abuse cases is somewhere between 5 and 10 percent and not 0.2 percent as it is reported now,’ Maria Roth, head of the Department of Social Work at the Babes-Bolyai University, based in the central Romanian city of Cluj Napoca, and coordinator of the research to be carried out in the Balkan countries told a press conference on Thursday.

The data provided by the National Authority for Child Rights in 2009 showed there were only 5,922 cases of confirmed abuse on children recorded nationwide in 2009, while sociological studies show point to much higher figure, situation to be clarified by the afore-mentioned research. Maria Roth also said sociological researches in the past years showed that, for instance, 90 percent of children say their parents do scream at them and 70 percent say their parents beat them.

Romania participates in the epidemiological study under the Framework Programme for Research and Technological Development (FP7) of the European Commission on child abuse and neglect in the Balkans via the Social Work Department of the Babes-Bolyai University. The research is funded by the European Commission and it will represent the most extensive epidemiological study ever done on child abuse and neglect.

The study is conducted on a sample of over 30,000 children and parents from Greece, Turkey, Serbia, Croatia, Albania, Macedonia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Bulgaria and Romania. As regards Romania, the sample includes 7,000 children and 7,000 parents, with the research results to be made public at some point next year.

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