Cases of child abuse in the Balearics have doubled in a year, according to a report by the Office for the Defence of Minors' Rights, which investigated 124 cases in 2001. The figure included 55 cases of physical, sexual or emotional abuse or abandonment, Javier Barés, who is in charge of the office, said. He added that most of the other cases revolved around neglect and conflictive behaviour at school. Borés said that the increase in cases shows greater knowledge of the existence of the Office and its work, and a greater awareness of the rights of children. But, he stressed, greater efforts had to be made to protect children's rights, which should always prevail over other interests. Borés said that there were 16'300 minors at risk out of a total of 172'664 children and adolescents on the Balearic census, and of these, 3'000 were at high risk. Six per cent of minors in the islands are reported to be victims of domestic violence, compared to 5.4 per cent on a national level, while alcoholism and drug taking are reported to be starting at the age of 11. Borès is in favour of schools for parents, such as the one in Calvia.


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