Greene County child abuse and neglect cases increase by 18% in 2020

Published: Oct. 8, 2021 at 6:16 AM CDT
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SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (KY3) - Greene County saw an 18% increase in child abuse and neglect cases last year, according to a recent community focus report.

While many communities experienced a decrease in abuse and neglect in 2020, Greene County’s rate remains consistently high. The report says it was the highest increase since 2016.

“We know that 90% of the time, when a child is abused, they’re abused by someone that they know, love or trust,” said Child Advocacy Center Executive Director Katiina Dull. “When we take that information and we add COVID into that, and the additional impact and stressors that it’s had on families, they go together and start to explain why we’re seeing those case rates come back up.”

Trauma can affect how a child grows and develops and impact their health, employment opportunities, and future success as an adult. Abuse can happen anywhere, including in and out of the home. Abusers are often someone a child knows trusts.

“So particularly when we’re talking about childhood trauma and childhood trauma from child abuse, there’s such an impact on loss of trust and fear. The implications when you know an offender is someone close to the child, you have the consequences of that,” said Dull. “Processing that can also be really difficult, what that manifests into as the child.”

Executives at the child advocacy center want you to know the signs that a child you know may be facing abuse.

“You want to look at what your child says when you pick them up, what they explain about what happened, where they were at, if they show any signs of anxiousness or nervous and going back to the same location, starting to understand what that might be,” said Dull.

The report also highlighted the need for comprehensive programs and community awareness on the impact trauma can have on children and how to help them process strong emotions.

For more information on the Community Focus report, CLICK HERE.

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