GIFU -- The Gifu Prefectural Government's sexual violence victim support center received a record 1,122 consultations in fiscal 2021, the prefecture's Child and Family Division has announced.
The increase is partly attributable to growing public awareness of the support center, and that it began taking consultations over the Line free messaging app that year.
The prefecture established the sexual violence victim support center in October 2015, and has since released the number of consultations every fiscal year.
The latest number was up 14% from fiscal 2020. Of those, 127 consultations were received via Line, among which 61 cases were from children aged 15 or younger.
Broken down by age bracket, there were 330 victims (29.4%) aged 19 or younger, followed by 218 in their 40s (19.4%), and 206 in their 20s (18.4%). The ages of 147 people (13.1%) were unknown.
Among all consultations, "indecent assault" was the most common crime at 172 cases (15.3%), followed by "rape" at 96 cases (8.6%). Meanwhile, there were 378 cases (33.7%) of "other sexual violence" including sexual harassment, and 476 consultations (42.4%) over trouble other than sexual abuse, such as domestic violence.
A Child and Family Division official said, "Though many sexual abuse victims are aged between 10 and 19, there were few consultations from victims themselves. Using our new Line service and other means, we'd like to let more people know about us so that we can serve as a contact for teens."
(Japanese original by Tomohiro Inoue, Gifu Bureau)