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domestic violence Child abuse cases jump by 10% in 2017

child hiding behind a curtain

The most common form of abuse was child neglect.


The number of child abuse victims in Switzerland rose by 10% last year, according to the latest statistics collected by the Swiss Society of Pediatrics (SSP).

The figures (in French)external link, released on Wednesday, show that some 1,730 individual cases of child abuse were reported by 20 paediatric clinics (from a total of 31) across Switzerland in 2017, up from 1,565 the previous year.

The most common form of abuse flagged was neglect – failing to provide for a child’s basic health and protection needs – which was reported in 38% of cases. This figure was almost double that of 2016.

Just over a quarter of the reported cases involved physical abuse, while 20% of children experienced psychological abuse such as the witnessing of domestic violence.

Sexual abuse was the least common complaint, but it also had the most skewed gender breakdown: 80% of sexual victims were girls. Across all forms of abuse, girls made up 56% of victims and boys 44%, identical to last year.

+ Compare with the figures from 2016 here

In terms of building a profile of the perpetrators, the SSP’s statistics show that abusers are slightly more likely to be male (44% were solely male; 24% solely female; the rest mixed or unknown), and extremely likely to be a member of the child’s family (84% of incidents).

Young children are most likely to be affected, with one in six abused children under the age of one, the SSP wrote. Some 46% of victims were under the age of six.


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