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The true extent of child abuse in former Soviet bloc countries is at last being recognised, after years of its existence being completely denied, paediatricians and psychologists at a Budapest conference heard last week.
"Officially, child abuse didn't exist under the Communist concept of a perfect society," said Dr Owen Lewis, associate clinical professor of psychiatry at New York City's Columbia Medical School and cofounder of the Children's Mental Health Alliance. "Soon after the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1989, it became very evident that child abuse was quite common in these countries."
In 1995, the Alliance and the Open Society Institute (a …