Target 8 follow-up: Child abuse and neglect reports fall in Missouri

5 months 1 week 1 day ago Monday, April 16 2018 Apr 16, 2018 Monday, April 16, 2018 5:34:00 PM CDT April 16, 2018 in News
By: Emily McCarter, KOMU 8 Reporter
loading

COLUMBIA – For the first time in four years, the number of child abuse and neglect reports in Missouri has fallen. When the Target 8 team investigated child abuse and neglect reports years ago, the number had skyrocketed in Missouri.

According to the Children's Division, 68,014 reports were filed last year, a drop of six percent from 2016.

One children's advocate, however, said numbers for child abuse can be misleading.

"I don't pay much attention to the statistics until I see a trend," said Joy Oesterly, the executive director of Missouri KidsFirst. "So it could be that it's just an anomaly and that for a number of reasons the number went down."

The numbers themselves aren't the only issue, she said.

"It's important to understand that child abuse is a really significant and costly public health issue," Oesterly said.

Rainbow House Executive Director Janie Bakutes said her organization sees abused children as young as three years old.

"Everything from physical abuse to sexual abuse," she said. "We have children who we have come in and we do interviews if they've witnessed a crime."

And sexual abuse is the most common for Rainbow House.

"The seriousness of sexual abuse is just something that I still don't want to believe that happens," Bakutes said.

She said the sad truth about child abuse is perpetrators are closer to the children than anyone might think.

"That's what we often see," Bakutes said. "It's a family member or a close friend."

Oesterly said it's complicated when it comes to recognizing child abuse, but some possible signs include the child becoming withdrawn or a drastic change in behavior.

"In the case of child sexual abuse, sometimes kids who are being sexually abused may actually start exhibiting some inappropriate sexual behaviors," she said. "Or they may have knowledge of sex that is inappropriate for their age."

Bakutes said some behaviors can be obvious.

"If the caregiver doesn't react to the child in a very loving way or the child seems to be distressed, those are all signs," she said.

She said people shouldn't be afraid of getting it wrong when it comes to making a call to the Child Abuse and Neglect Hotline at 1-800-392-3738.

"We tell people it's always best to assume the worst," Bakutes said. "It's ok to do that."

There are other ways besides reporting the abuse to help prevent child neglect.

"There are so many ways that people go about preventing child abuse in their everyday lives," Oesterly said. "Helping a parent out if they're overwhelmed. Many parents say parenting is the hardest job they'll ever have. Also, learn more about suspicious behaviors or the signs."

Bakutes said, even though the declining numbers for child abuse could be a good sign, the fight is far from over.

"The fact is that one case of child abuse is too many," she said.

Related Stories

More News

Grid
List
CASSVILLE (AP) — A $1.9 million renovation of a southwestern Missouri trout hatchery won't interfere with the tens of thousands... More >>
51 minutes ago Monday, September 24 2018 Sep 24, 2018 Monday, September 24, 2018 6:19:00 AM CDT September 24, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA - Missouri Task Force 1 is in Kinston, North Carolina waiting for its next mission. The task force's... More >>
9 hours ago Sunday, September 23 2018 Sep 23, 2018 Sunday, September 23, 2018 9:58:00 PM CDT September 23, 2018 in News
(CNN) -- Lawyers for Christine Blasey Ford said in a statement on Sunday that she has committed to testifying in... More >>
12 hours ago Sunday, September 23 2018 Sep 23, 2018 Sunday, September 23, 2018 6:31:00 PM CDT September 23, 2018 in News
WASHINGTON (AP) — Farmers across the United States will soon begin receiving government checks as part of a billion-dollar bailout... More >>
12 hours ago Sunday, September 23 2018 Sep 23, 2018 Sunday, September 23, 2018 6:27:00 PM CDT September 23, 2018 in News
ATLANTA (AP) — The Latest on the Tour Championship (all times local): 5:58 p.m. Tiger Woods is a... More >>
13 hours ago Sunday, September 23 2018 Sep 23, 2018 Sunday, September 23, 2018 5:12:00 PM CDT September 23, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA - According to Missouri state law, all children over the age of eight do not have to ride in... More >>
14 hours ago Sunday, September 23 2018 Sep 23, 2018 Sunday, September 23, 2018 4:51:00 PM CDT September 23, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA - Columbia police are searching for a person who ran away from a traffic stop in south Columbia around... More >>
14 hours ago Sunday, September 23 2018 Sep 23, 2018 Sunday, September 23, 2018 4:22:00 PM CDT September 23, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA - Both China and the United States' newest round of tariffs go into effect on Monday. The US' tariffs... More >>
16 hours ago Sunday, September 23 2018 Sep 23, 2018 Sunday, September 23, 2018 2:51:00 PM CDT September 23, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA - Over 100 activists walked around Stephens Lake Park on Sunday to raise money and awareness to end hunger... More >>
19 hours ago Sunday, September 23 2018 Sep 23, 2018 Sunday, September 23, 2018 11:58:00 AM CDT September 23, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA - One person died and another was hurt in a one-vehicle crash Sunday morning. Police said Perri A.... More >>
21 hours ago Sunday, September 23 2018 Sep 23, 2018 Sunday, September 23, 2018 9:57:00 AM CDT September 23, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA - Missouri basketball forward Mitchell Smith was arrested early Sunday morning by the Boone County Sheriff's Department and charged... More >>
22 hours ago Sunday, September 23 2018 Sep 23, 2018 Sunday, September 23, 2018 8:45:00 AM CDT September 23, 2018 in Sports
CLAYTON (AP) — A St. Louis man has been sentenced to 30 years in prison for a 2012 police chase... More >>
22 hours ago Sunday, September 23 2018 Sep 23, 2018 Sunday, September 23, 2018 8:27:14 AM CDT September 23, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA – About one in 10 children are subject to sexual abuse, according to a local expert on the subject.... More >>
1 day ago Saturday, September 22 2018 Sep 22, 2018 Saturday, September 22, 2018 11:18:00 PM CDT September 22, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA - A water main break in MU's Hearnes Center early Saturday morning caused at least $100,000 worth of damage,... More >>
1 day ago Saturday, September 22 2018 Sep 22, 2018 Saturday, September 22, 2018 7:17:00 PM CDT September 22, 2018 in News
FULTON - The Fulton Police Department responded to shots fired at a McDonald's located at 303 S. Business 54 early... More >>
1 day ago Saturday, September 22 2018 Sep 22, 2018 Saturday, September 22, 2018 5:49:00 PM CDT September 22, 2018 in News
(CNN) -- Christine Blasey Ford, the woman who has accused Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh of a past sexual assault,... More >>
1 day ago Saturday, September 22 2018 Sep 22, 2018 Saturday, September 22, 2018 5:16:00 PM CDT September 22, 2018 in News
AUXVASSE - The Callaway County Sheriff's Office arrested five people Friday morning during a narcotics search at a residence in... More >>
1 day ago Saturday, September 22 2018 Sep 22, 2018 Saturday, September 22, 2018 4:16:00 PM CDT September 22, 2018 in News
FESTUS (AP) — A man and his adult son were killed when their small plane crashed near... More >>
1 day ago Saturday, September 22 2018 Sep 22, 2018 Saturday, September 22, 2018 8:20:00 AM CDT September 22, 2018 in News
Columbia, MO
Broken Clouds 67°
8am 66°
9am 67°
10am 71°
11am 74°