寄付・募金・ボランティアのセーブ・ザ・チルドレン・ジャパン

Great East Japan earthquake and tsunami Emergency response and recovery program

child protection

Preventing child abuse after the Tohoku earthquake: Interviews with people in the disaster area (November 29, 2013)

 

Have you ever seen this orange ribbon?

Orenge Ribbon

In recent years, some educational activities have been conducted using ribbons of various colors, such as pink and white, as their symbols. Orange ribbons are used in symbolizing child abuse prevention activities. Many of you might have seen orange ribbons being worn in November during Child Abuse Prevention Promotion Month.

 

orenge ribbon2

(A poster advertising Child Abuse Prevention Promotion Month prepared by the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare)

 

There are various reasons for child abuse. Child abuse is said to be influenced by several factors; when the parents’ nurturing environment is negatively impacted by their accumulated stress in daily life (e.g. poverty, domestic conflict and the burden of childcare) or they become isolated from relatives and local communities, leaving them with no support while raising their children. (*)

 

Save the Children Japan (SCJ), as part of the Great East Japan Earthquake Recovery Program, has been working for child abuse prevention with other organizations by:

 

Ÿ  Providing a program for self-protection from abuse and sexual violence (CAP Miyagi)

Ÿ  Listening to children talk on the phone (Child Line Koriyama)

Ÿ  Supporting activities for the enrichment of a nurturing environment (NPO Miyagi Kodomo Youiku Shien No Kai, The Children’s Village Tohoku, Child-Raising Support Group Kokoro, Child-Raising Support Community Petit-Maman and Home Start Japan)

 

The necessity of the above activities has already been pointed out, but particularly today, two and a half years after the Tohoku earthquake, we consider it essential to further enrich these actions in the areas that suffered greatly from the disaster. We have been working for the recovery since right after the earthquake. During our support activities, we sometimes heard participants’ concerns that the risk of child abuse had actually been getting higher due to changes in the children’s environments and the stress caused to parents by their prolonged evacuation. In newspapers, we also found articles that reported the increasing problem of child abuse in the disaster areas.

 

On the other hand, even two and a half years after the Tohoku earthquake, not many studies have been conducted to clarify the current situation in the disaster areas where the children’s environment has changed. This makes it difficult for us to grasp the actual conditions. Therefore, from June to September this year, we conducted a study in order to grasp the situation in the areas of Iwate, Miyagi and Fukushima prefectures.

 

As described in the table below, we conducted interviews and questionnaires with administrative bodies, schools, nursery schools and support organizations located in the coastal areas of Iwate, Miyagi and Fukushima prefectures. We also provided an online questionnaire for the citizens of these areas.

 

Professionals who support children in care, the staff of private   organizations in the field of development that daily deal with children and   families, the staff of educational/nursery institutions and administrative   bodies

General citizens

# of people

About 170

About 1,100

Locations

Iwate Prefecture (mainly Rikuzentakata City), Miyagi Prefecture   (mainly Ishinomaki City) and Fukushima Prefecture (mainly Minamisoma City)

Iwate, Miyagi and Fukushima prefectures

 Questioning

methods

1)       A semi-structured interview for   one to two hours

2)       A questionnaire

An online questionnaire

Content of questions

Ÿ   Worrying   situations for children

Ÿ   Situations that children are concerned with but have difficulties dealing   with

Ÿ   Changes in social resources   that support children’s growth

Ÿ   The provision of necessary   information for supporting children’s growth

Ÿ   Impacts of the earthquake on   families with children

Ÿ   Approaches   to child abuse prevention

Ÿ    Dissemination   and access to information regarding child-raising support in communities.

Ÿ    Dissemination   and access to information regarding child abuse in communities

Ÿ    Knowledge   and understanding of child abuse

Ÿ    Social   resources regarding child-raising support and child abuse

 

We are currently analyzing the results of this study and summarizing it as a report. This report will be completed early next year, and on December 14, 2013, we will present the interim report at a session meeting of the Japanese Society for Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect. We will continue to share with you updates about this study on this blog.

 

(*) Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare:
http://www.mhlw.go.jp/seisakunitsuite/bunya/kodomo/kodomo_kosodate/dv/dl/120502_11.pdf (in Japanese)