The number cases of domestic violence against children has increased alarmingly. In total, 17.709 cases of child abuse were recorded in last year. What are the symptoms of abuse?

  • In 2023, 17,709 cases of child abuses were recorded, of which 2,249 were emotional abuse, 1,994 were physical abuse and 1,504 were sexual abuse.
  • Half of these children report that their parents use corporal punishment and just as many became victims of bullying in schools.
  • Studies shows that half of sexually abused children are suicidal.

Bucharest: 5 June 2024: According to the statistics of the National Authority for Protection of Children’s Rights and Adoption, between January and December 2023 17,709 cases of child abuse were registred, of which 2,249 were emotional abuse, 1,994 were physical abuse and 1,504 were sexual abuse. Most cases that came to the authorities attention were cases of abuse through neglect –  11,605. There have also been extremely serious case of labour exploitation – 210, exploitation for commiting crimes – 113 and sexual exploitation – 43. At the same time, 766 cases of domestic violence against children were registrated in 2023, up from the previous year (676), of which 10 were classified as homicide (Public Ministery data). Marking the Day Against  Child Violence in Romania, Save the Children Romania draws attention of the long term effects of raising a child in an environment marked by domestic violence, from emotional to physical health problems.

In terms of gender distribution, the number of female victims is significantly higher at 9,679 compared to 8,030 male victims, with a dramatic difference in cases of sexual abuse, where the number of female victims is 1,332 compared to 172 male victims.

Gender distribution

Cases of:                                             Male                                 Female                              Total

  1. a) Physical abuse                                  1053                                    941                                  1994
  2. b) Emotional abuse                              1021                                   1219                                 2240
  3. c) Sexual abuse                                        172                                  1332                                  1504
  4. d) Neglect                                               5580                                 6025                                11605
  5. e) Labour exploitation                            115                                      95                                     210
  6. f) Sexual exploitation                                5                                       38                                       43
  7. g) Exploitation for
    committing crimes                                   84                                       29                                    113

Total                                                           8030                               9679                                17709


The Day Against Violence of Child in Romania established on 5 June through Law no. 497/2066. Its aim is to prevent and combat violence against children by changing mentality of adults.  

Children who witness domestic violence are at increased risk of abuse and impaired healthy psycho-emotional development. Symptoms:

Children living into an environment where domestic violence became a way of life are at risk of psychological trauma. In addition, domestic violence predisposes to an environment in which the child’s right to protection, safety and care is frequently violated.

Whether victims of domestic violence or just witness, the consequences take their toll on both childhood and adult life.

Children who grow up in violent families develop behaviors and a physical condition that make them easily recognizable. They exhibit:

  • Physical problems, unexplained illness, exposure to accidents inside and outside the home, slower physical development;
  • Emotional and mental problems: anxiety, depression, feelings of guilt, fear of abandonment, isolation, anger, fear of injuries and death.
  • Psychological problems: lack of self-confidence, negative self-esteem, learning disabilities, attention deficit, motivation imbalances.
  • Behavioural problems: aggression or passivity to aggression by others, sleep problems, bedwetting, bullying, running away from home, teenage pregnancy, relationships to escape from home, self-mutilation, drug and alcohol use, defensive behaviour such as lying;
  • School problems – risk of dropping out of school, sudden drops in school performance, lack of concentration, non-compliance with social rules;
  • Identification with negative heroes.
  • A lesser-known fact is that suicide and suicide attempts have increased among young people and that the main causes are a damaged family climate and poor communication within the family.

Gabriela Alexandrescu, Executive President of Save the Children Romania, said: „A child who has been a victim of abuse in any form is in a post-traumatic state, manifested by anxiety, lack of sleep, apathy. It is important that the socio-emotional environment in which a child develops is one that gives them a sense of security. Fear blocks a child’s long-term development. Under these circumstances, any approach that aims to contribute to preventing and combating domestic violence will not be complete and effective without targeting children and including awareness-raising, education, intervention and protection activities.”

What do the studies say?

  • There is an important correlation between partner abuse and child abuse; the likelihood of a child suffering emotional and physical abuse in the context of domestic violence is very high.
  • Witnessing domestic violence teaches the child that violence between family members is an appropriate or common pattern of behavior. Many boys who grow up in families where the husband physically and emotionally abuses his wife become abusers themselves.
  • Social science studies show that children who grow up in violent home environments go through traumatic experiences and, as such, are at risk of developing severe emotional and behavioral disorders: anxiety, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, aggressive behavior, bullying behaviors at school, increased risk of victimization.
  • Children who try to protect their abused parent are at increased risk of being abused themselves.
  • Children exposed to domestic violence are at increased risk of developing conduct disorder in adolescence and have low confidence in their own anger management skills, self-control and protective behavior in relationships.

Notes for editors:

  • Protection of children against violence and sexual abuse is weak

Half of children report that they parents use corporal punishment and just as many became victims of bullying in schools. 20% of reported cases of sexual abuse go to court and only 5% result in criminal convictions, with only 1 in 4 of these decisions resulting in the perpetrators being sent to prison.

Over the last 10 years, the percentage of children who say they know who to ask for help in an at-risk situation has remained constant for labour exploitation or the production of sexually explicit material, but has decreased for physical abuse (by 4,7 percentage points) and sexual abuse (by 3,4 percentage points). Worryingly, although the most children (65%) can recognize abuse, just 1 in 3 are in a position to know who to ask for help and to trust the person or institution.

Out of a total of 3,439 of reports received of the civic point organized by Save the Children Organization for reporting harmful content for children encountered online, during the period of 01 January – 30 April 2024, 3,356 were materials falling under the Child Sexual Abuse Material (CSAM). 3,359 of the notifications processed were forwarded to specialized officers of IGPR. Out of the total of reports processed, 3,161 are self-generated material by minors themselves. The most victims are female (3.158 reports), while 169 reports showed victims under the age of 10.

  • For over 34 years, Save the Children has been developing programmes to combat and prevent all forms of violence and abuse against children, through direct education and counselling for children, parents and professionals in the field, by working with the authorities to improve the specific legislative framework and through broad public awareness campaigns to reduce the level of social acceptance of corporal punishment and humiliating treatment of children, serious violations of their rights to protection and health.

Contact person: Mihaela Dinu, project manager, Save the Children Organization, tel. 0723276350, email –


About Save the Children Romania

For 34 years, Save the Children Romania has been building social programmes, public policies and sound practices for the benefit of children in Romania. The expertise and complexity of its projects at national level make the organisation an essential social institution whose role is to mediate between society and public authority for the benefit of children. In its more than three decades of activity, Save the Children has actively intervened in society, identifying concrete solutions for the protection and support of vulnerable children, while at the same time advocating for a viable collaboration with the decision-making authorities to ensure the best interests of the child. Save the Children has taken on the role of vigilant oversight of public authorities, so that they can implement lasting public policies to correct the causes that lead to children’s vulnerability. At the same time, the organisation has succeeded in creating active networks of solidarity by encouraging corporate and social responsibility in the broadest sense. As a member of Save the Children, the world’s largest independent children’s rights organisation with 30 members and programmes in over 120 countries, our VISION is a world that respects every child’s right to survival, education, protection and participation, with a MISSION to achieve significant progress in the way children are treated and make immediate and lasting change in their lives. Over 3,700,000 children have been involved in Save the Children programmes and campaigns.