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Cost of child abuse skyrockets to W76tr

The direct and indirect social costs caused by child abuse in South Korea total up to 76 trillion won ($65 billion) per year, data showed.

The amount includes basic medical expenses for abused children, as well as long-term social and economic costs triggered by the victims’ psychological disorder, loss of labor capacity and potential crimes.

According to a report by Ewha Womans University’s Department of Social Welfare, the annual social and economic costs are estimated to stand at 390 billion won at minimum and 76 trillion won maximum.

This was the first time South Korea has issued a report exclusively on the economic aftereffects of child abuse.

The gap between the minimum and maximum cost was attributed to the difference in numbers between reported cases and the actual number of abused children, underlining that there are many more child abuse cases undiscovered in South Korean society. 

Last year, the reported proportion of abused children out of the entire peer population stood at 0.11 percent, but the actual figure is estimated to be much higher, according to the report.

“The countermeasures to child abuses are both inefficient and insufficient, which is why we should focus more on preventive solutions,” said the research team in a statement. 

Over recent months, reports on abusive offenses against children have disturbed the nation.

In March, a 3-month-old girl was found dead after her 22-year-old father had abused her when she would not stop crying in Bucheon, Gyeonggi Province, while a 7-year-old boy surnamed Shin was found buried in a mountain in Pyeongtaek after starvation and abuse at the hands of his stepmother.

Earlier this year, the government began surveying the enrollment status of nearly 7,600 schoolchildren who were supposed to enter elementary and middle school this year. 

By Kim Da-sol (ddd@heraldcorp.com)
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