Reports of child abuse at all-time high in Flanders

The number of reports of child abuse is at a record high in Flanders, De Morgen and De Standaard report on Thursday. Tim Stroobants, director of the Flemish Centre of Expertise for Child Abuse, described the increase as a positive signal: "It shows that bystanders are alert to the welfare of children."

In 2023, 7,541 individual reports of child abuse were made through various confidential child abuse centres and the chatbox, reversing the sharp decline in 2022. The number of children named in the reports - 10,671 - is also a record.

About half of the reports come from people in the health sector, such as doctors or hospitals, or from schools and pupil guidance centres. The biggest increase, however, was at, where there was a 20 per cent increase.

Most reports are about emotional abuse and neglect (35 per cent), physical abuse and neglect (30 per cent) or sexual abuse (16 per cent). However, this is only the tip of the iceberg, according to Stroobants. "We estimate that 3 per cent of children and young people grow up in a situation of child abuse," he said. "The fight against child abuse requires a commitment from the whole of society."


#FlandersNewsService | © BELGA PHOTO DIRK WAEM

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