There were 627 child abuse cases reported in 2018, according to statistics released by Minister of Social Services Frankie Campbell yesterday.
The number indicated a 10 percent increase in reports compared to 2017, which saw 570 cases.
Campbell, who was speaking at a Child Protection Month press conference, said there were 121 reports of physical abuse, 213 reports of sexual abuse, six reports of incest, four reports of verbal abuse, 11 reports of emotional abuse, 266 reports of neglect and six reports of abandonment.
With the exception of two categories – abandonment and incest – the 2018 numbers were higher than those in 2017.
Moreover, Campbell noted that in the past four years, there were only 30 reports of verbal abuse and 31 reports of emotional abuse reported. However, Campbell said he believes the numbers to be higher.
“These are the lowest in the reported categories,” he said.
“However, in my humble opinion, and laying bare my personal experience, these may actually be the highest in occurrence, and these are probably the ones that have the worst and longest lasting effects.”
According to Campbell, the total number of child abuse reports were 647 in 2016, and 598 in 2016.
However, a document included in a press kit from the event provided entirely different numbers for the past four years, with the numbers being much lower in most instances than those given in the minister’s speech.
Additionally, in 2017, The Tribune reported that there were 856 total child abuse reports for the year 2016.
Questioned on the discrepancy in numbers, Campbell said that a file audit was conducted at the Department of Social Services earlier this year, and that the department stands by the numbers provided in his speech.
Officials urge anyone who knows of or suspects child abuse to call the national hotline at 322-2763 or 422-2763.