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 Child abuse cases on the rise; what's to blame?

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Ava
Orlando, Florida
Orlando, Florida
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PostSubject: Child abuse cases on the rise; what's to blame?   Wed Oct 27, 2010 6:04 pm

EVANSVILLE, IN (WFIE) - It's a disturbing trend. In Vanderburgh County, reports of child abuse and neglect went up by nearly 700 in just one year.

Some of that may be because more people are speaking up. There was the central call center that rolled out and that provides for a consistent statewide reporting of abuse and neglect, so we began to do a lot of community outreach.

But it's not just reports. Across the region, the number of court cases the Department of Children's Services is dealing with has gone from about 880 to nearly 1200.

Neglect, physical abuse, and sexual abuse have all increased.

Shirley Starks with the Department of Children's Services says drug use and the economy both play a role in the disturbing numbers.

"In some situations I think people are taking their frustrations out on their kids," Starks said. "They're turning to drugs just to get away from what their reality is."

But she says in some cases, families just aren't able to provide for their children. "Housing, clothing, food. All of the things that go along with helping a child to feel safe and stable."

But there is help available and she's hopeful families will turn to those resources when times get too tough. Starks says parents should call 2-1-1 to find out what resources are available when life becomes overwhelming.

"It's better to go get that help now than to wait until something devastating happens to a child."

The numbers show far too many are waiting too long.

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