Thursday, September 16, 2010

Child Abuse: Six out of 10 Paraguayan children suffer parental or family abuse

Six out of 10 Paraguayan children and adolescents suffer physical violence and other maltreatment within their homes, including beatings, kicks, burns and semi-asphyxiation, according to a new United Nations study.

The UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) study, released yesterday, found that corporal punishment and verbal humiliation are considered culturally acceptable forms of education and it called on the Government to introduce policies that promote the denunciation and punishment of such activities.

More than 800 children between the ages of 10 and 18 in at least 50 public and private schools throughout the country were included in the study. Of these, 35 per cent reported suffering severe physical punishments, 13 per cent experienced light violence and 13 per cent endured psychological violence, according to UNICEF child protection official Andrea Sid.

“The serious maltreatment consisted of blows with objects, kicks, burns and some type of asphyxiation,” she said.

The high incidence of abuse by parents and others within the family is a wake-up call for the authorities, UNICEF stressed.