Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Reports of Child Abuse on the Rise in Arkansas

In recent weeks, several alarming reports about child sexual abuse have been made. In one case, a Sebastian County man was arrested for allegedly sexually abusing a young relative. Police said the abuse had been happening for years.

Every week, local Crimes Against Children investigators receive dozens of reports of sexual abuse involving children.

“I cover seven counties, and we average 50-70 reports a month,” said Teri Ward, a supervisor with the Crimes Against Children Division of the Arkansas State Police.

Ward said that investigators see busier months than others and reports tend to go down during the summer because school is not in session. There are mandated reporters of child abuse, including teachers, counselorrs, therapists and police. When school is not in session, children may not have a chance to report abuse to a school employee.

“When the economy hits a low, that can increase child abuse,” said Abra Lang, a Child Advocate with the Children’s Safety Center in Springdale. The Children’s Safety Center is a place where recovery starts for children of abuse. Unfortunately, advocates there also stay very busy year round. Since January more than 300 children have received help at the center.

Lang said she can't attribute the increase in reported abuse to the economy or to other factors, but does believe people are reporting abuse more often.

“I think there’s more awareness about sexual abuse and there’s been a lot of education,” said Lang.

Experts also said that the number of reported cases is alarming, but they believe that there are countless other cases that are never reported.
Related Stories:
July 28, 2009: Man Accused Of Assaulting Young Relative
July 22, 2009: Man Accused Of Sexually Abusing Relative For Years
July 15, 2009: Man Pleads Not Guilty To Raping Child
July 14, 2009: Man Arrested On Sexual Assault Charges
July 10, 2009: Sebastian Co. Man Accused Of Raping 1-Year-Old
July 2, 2009: Springdale Man Arrested In Child Porn Case
June 24, 2009: Study: Missing Kids Posters Rarely Work

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