National Children's Hospital officials announced this week that cases of child abuse showed a slight decrease in the first quarter of 2012, although they emphasized that more needs to be done to combat the problem.
Rodolfo Hernández, director of the medical center, explained that last year that hospital received an average of seven cases of child abuse per day, a number that had decreased to 5.8 in the first three months of 2012.
Hernández noted that in 2011, the National Children's Hospital launched a campaign against abuse that was supported by the Costa Rican Electricity Institute, the Bank of Costa Rica and private sector firms.
According to Social Security System statistics, child abuse cases registered at the hospital include – in order of prevelance – negligence, psychological abuse, lack of attention and sexual assault. In most cases victims are children under 6 years old, and aggression occurs mostly in their own homes.
Hernández said that this is caused by numerous factors including poverty, low education levels and lack of employment opportunities.