January 4th, 2013 (InsideCostaRica.com) Vacations were not exactly happy moments for many children, as, according to the 911 Emergency Services, the month of December brought a total of 2,296 calls regarding violence against children – victims of physical, sexual and psychological violence.
Of the 2,296 calls reported to 911, 1,550 were for domestic violence, 20 were cases of sexual abuse and 4 cases involved sexual abuse with injuries. 288 of the calls were to report psychological abuse against a child.
In the first few days of January, there have already been 108 cases of domestic violence against children.
Rodolfo Hernandez, director of the National Children’s Hospital, stated that it is proven child abuse increases during the holiday season, which he describes as an epidemic in Costa Rica.
“Homes are no longer safe places for children, they are now becoming places of danger due to the mistreatment that they are receiving,” he said.
According to statistics from the National Children’s Hospital, in 2012, there were 212 more cases of abuse than in 2011. The total number of children that went to the hospital for these types of cases in 2012 was 1,754.
“This increase is very concerning, because we are realizing that the policies and messages are not reaching parents. Children are suffering a lot of aggression at home, not just physical and psychological, there are also cases of intoxications and sexual mistreatment,” said the doctor.
Last September, on Children’s Day, the hospital provided an alarming number, when it stated that 21,500 children out of every 100,000 inhabitants, or 21.5%, suffer from abuse.
Every year, the Children’s Hospital sees close to 1,000 mistreated children, “with a 600% increase in the number of cases reported between January 2007 and January 2012,” said Hernandez.