This article from the Sankei Shimbun was the most read article on Yahoo! News today, as netizens expressed shock at police inability to follow procedure.
Police at a kōban [police box] in Yodogawa ward, Osaka, failed to protect the personal details of a woman who was reporting suspected child abuse from the mother of the allegedly abused child, leading the woman to fear reprisals.
Most commenters were disbelieving that the policemen made the woman answer questions in front of the child’s mother, with others questioning whether the police really had the child’s best interests at heart.
From Sankei Shimbun:
Woman Takes Suspected Abused Child To Police Box, Police Allow Mother To Overhear Woman’s Personal Details.
It has been revealed that due to a woman (28) who temporarily looked after a child she suspected was being abused and reported it, and the mother of that child being sat together in a kōban by police in Yodogawa ward, Osaka, the woman’s address and contact information was overheard by the child’s mother. In an interview with the Sankei Shimbun, the woman had been left with a strong sense of suspicion due to her treatment by police, saying “I’m extremely worried because the child’s mother knows my personal information. Why couldn’t the police have questioned us separately?”. Police apologised to the woman, saying, “They were seated together at the policeman’s discretion, but there was a lack of foresight on our part”.
The woman was taking care of the child at around 4:30pm on April 18. When she was letting her own child play at a park in Yodagawa ward, Osaka, she noticed that a little girl (3) who she didn’t know was crying loudly, “I’m hungry”, “I’m thirsty”.
The little girl was wearing a dirty sweater which was unsuitable for that time of year, and also had bruises on her arms and shins, and smelled of sweat. Unable to see the child’s guardian anywhere, the woman suspected child abuse and child neglect, and reported it to a child abuse hotline. The person responsible at the municipal children’s consultation centre, which handled the call, advised her that “It will take some time to send out a member of staff, so we’d like you to head over to the nearby Yodogawa ward police kōban”.
The woman took the little girl to the kōban, but the policeman was not there. When she reported this to the ward’s police headquarters and waited for the policeman to return, the mother of the little girl, who had been looking for her, happened to pass-by, and came into the kōban, saying “What’s going on?”.
Immediately afterward, two policemen arrived at the kōban. While they knew that the child’s mother was also there, and therefore could overhear the details of how the woman had looked after the little girl, the police still asked the woman’s address, name, employment and contact details. The woman became concerned about the child’s mother being present, and held back from answering questions; she looked down and fell silent. But she was prompted by police to “answer quickly”, and made to respond to their questions.
According to the police, after having sent the woman home the policemen checked over the little girl along with a member of the child consultation team, who had shown up late. While they judged that the possibility of child abuse was low since there were no remarkable external injuries on the child, they sent a report to the child consultation unit stating that “we cannot deny any suspicion of child neglect”, and passed the case to the child consultation unit.
Regarding the course of events, the police explained that they’d received a notification from the child’s mother at just past 4pm on the same day saying that “I’ve come home and my child has disappeared”, and so she searched the local area with police. And then, due to the fact that a report had come in from the woman, they said that “we thought we’d get the mother to say thank you to the woman who had looked after the child, so we sat them together”.
The policemen also recognised that the content of the woman’s report entailed a suspicion of child abuse, however they said that “The child was very attached to its mother, so it looked like the possibility of abuse was low,” and also apologised saying “Ultimately we made the woman who reported the child feel more uncomfortable, and for that we are deeply sorry”.
Still, when interviewed the woman was uncomfortable with what had happened, “I was made to give my personal details by the police, who had an overbearing attitude, so I had no choice but to answer. I started to feel like I’d done something wrong”.
On the night that she had taken the child to the kōban, a child around elementary school age who she didn’t know suddenly showed up at her house, and attacked her saying, “What did you do to that little girl? That’s abduction”, and the woman told the Sankei Shimbun during the interview that “My personal information has probably been leaked, I’m really concerned”.
Comments from Hatena Bookmark:
Who was that kid in the last part!? Scary!
So the police were lying here: http://www.police.pref.osaka.jp/05bouhan/taisaku/04hakken02_1.html
“The girl had bruises on her arms and shins” “There were no remarkable external injuries”. Clearly these are inconsistent statements, but I mean….even if a child is so clearly being neglected like this, the Osaka police just leave them to their fate.
What’s going on with that elementary school student at the end?
The last part of this article is frightening. Still, makes me want to say that at least she wasn’t arrested for abduction.
This is the precursor for much more frightening things to come.
I mean, probably now people are going to stop helping kids they don’t know.
On the night that she had taken the child to the kōban, a child around elementary school age who she didn’t know suddenly showed up at her house, and attacked her saying, “What did you do that little girl? That’s abduction” ▼Scary.
The police have no sense of danger.
The way the police dealt with this is really frightening.
Comments from Twitter:
There was clearly abuse going on here. This is terrible…
What the hell. Don’t the police know how to handle things when someone is suspected of abuse? Seems like they also have very little knowledge of child abuse.
Although this is just a normal news article, that last part really freaks me out.
The police, and particularly policemen who are in a position where they regularly deal with the public, have a really bad attitude. They mistake their work for going around and acting like tyrants.
This is too awful. I feel sorry for the woman of course, but I wonder what has happened to the child…
There are some awful policemen in Yodogawa ward, Osaka. They should be properly punished!
I can’t believe this. It’s because of things like this that the public hold back from reporting things. A child who they should have saved was not saved.
Osaka is scareeeeeeeeeey.
There were even cases where kids were attached to their parents until the moment they starved to death.
Those policemen should be paying that woman’s relocation fees.