Lake of the Ozarks region combats spike in child abuse

1 year 3 months 2 weeks ago Thursday, November 02 2017 Nov 2, 2017 Thursday, November 02, 2017 6:52:00 PM CDT November 02, 2017 in Top Stories
By: Kyrah Davis & Justin Kollar, KOMU 8 Reporters
loading

OSAGE BEACH - Lake Regional Health System forensic nurses reported a disturbing rise in child abuse cases in mid-Missouri this year. 

Child abuse cases have been steadily rising in Central Missouri since 2015 when from January to September, Lake Regional nurses treated 173 cases of child abuse in 22 Missouri counties. Since then, pediatric abuse cases have gone up nearly 80 percent.

This year, Lake Regional forensic nurses treated 316 cases of child abuse and neglect between January and September. The majority of these cases involved sexual abuse.

Dee Ballard, a registered nurse in Lake Regional Emergency Department, said in a news release that a combination of things could be to blame for this sharp rise.

“We don’t know if more people are feeling comfortable coming forward or if the rate of abuse is increasing or if it’s some of both.”

The executive director of the local child advocacy center Kids’ Harbor, Cara Gerdiman, said it might be because of greater awareness of available services.

"Abuse thrives in secrecy," Gerdiman said. "The more we talk about this, the more we can prevent it."

Kids' Harbor has served 574 children who have become victims of child abuse this year alone.

"Child abuse investigations can be frightening for kids," Gerdiman said. "Every child deserves to have a happy safe childhood, and we help as much as we can."

Most of Kids' Harbor's referrals involve reports of sexual abuse. Nearly 66 percent of all reported counts of child abuse this year alone involved sexual abuse of some kind.

Gerdiman said she hopes that through increased awareness, child abuse will end. 

"Kids are not responsible for their own safety," Gerdiman said. "It's up to us to take care of them."

Kids' Harbor has sought grant funding to start an in-depth prevention program that would provide education to adults who are responsible for child safety.

Gerdiman said Kids' Harbor helps children free of charge until they reach the age of 18. Their methods of early intervention and critical support systems have proven to lessen the negative side effects that children face as a result of the traumas of the criminal justice process.

(Editor's note: this article has been updated to clarify the date range for abuse treatment)

More News

Grid
List
COLUMBIA - It's been 50 years since a historic moment occurred on MU's campus Community members met Saturday... More >>
2 hours ago Saturday, February 16 2019 Feb 16, 2019 Saturday, February 16, 2019 10:41:00 PM CST February 16, 2019 in News
OXFORD, MISS. - The Missouri Tigers fell short in Saturday's game against Mississippi, losing 75-65. The Tigers made the... More >>
3 hours ago Saturday, February 16 2019 Feb 16, 2019 Saturday, February 16, 2019 10:03:00 PM CST February 16, 2019 in Sports
COLUMBIA - City plow crews are continuing to clear snow covered streets as they prepare for more winter weather overnight.... More >>
4 hours ago Saturday, February 16 2019 Feb 16, 2019 Saturday, February 16, 2019 9:08:00 PM CST February 16, 2019 in News
STURGEON - A judge ordered the city of Sturgeon to reinstate Greg Halderman as its police chief, according to court... More >>
8 hours ago Saturday, February 16 2019 Feb 16, 2019 Saturday, February 16, 2019 5:05:00 PM CST February 16, 2019 in News
COLUMBIA - One person is dead after a pair of crashes Saturday afternoon. Jordan E. Hoyt, 37, died after... More >>
9 hours ago Saturday, February 16 2019 Feb 16, 2019 Saturday, February 16, 2019 4:29:00 PM CST February 16, 2019 in News
JEFFERSON CITY - Gov. Mike Parson and First Lady Teresa opened up the grounds of the Governor's Mansion on Saturday... More >>
9 hours ago Saturday, February 16 2019 Feb 16, 2019 Saturday, February 16, 2019 4:13:00 PM CST February 16, 2019 in News
COLUMBIA – Money raised at the 14 th annual Rootin’ Tootin’ Chili Cookoff on Saturday afternoon will benefit the Columbia... More >>
9 hours ago Saturday, February 16 2019 Feb 16, 2019 Saturday, February 16, 2019 3:42:00 PM CST February 16, 2019 in News
COLUMBIA - Even with slick sidewalks and snowy roads, runners still showed up for Mizzou's Rockin' Against Multiple Sclerosis 5K... More >>
10 hours ago Saturday, February 16 2019 Feb 16, 2019 Saturday, February 16, 2019 2:54:00 PM CST February 16, 2019 in News
(CNN) -- Sixty-three more people have been infected with salmonella linked to raw turkey products in an outbreak that began... More >>
13 hours ago Saturday, February 16 2019 Feb 16, 2019 Saturday, February 16, 2019 12:27:00 PM CST February 16, 2019 in News
VATICAN CITY (AP) — Pope Francis has defrocked former U.S. Cardinal Theodore McCarrick after Vatican officials found him guilty of... More >>
18 hours ago Saturday, February 16 2019 Feb 16, 2019 Saturday, February 16, 2019 7:25:00 AM CST February 16, 2019 in News
SARCOXIE, Mo. (AP) — The Jasper County prosecutor on Thursday charged a 23-year-old English teacher at Sarcoxie High School with... More >>
1 day ago Friday, February 15 2019 Feb 15, 2019 Friday, February 15, 2019 9:56:18 PM CST February 15, 2019 in News
COLUMBIA - Battle High School's Girls Wrestling team will make history by competing in the first high school girls state... More >>
1 day ago Friday, February 15 2019 Feb 15, 2019 Friday, February 15, 2019 8:56:00 PM CST February 15, 2019 in News
COLUMBIA - The first snow system has come to an end and two more are on the way in less... More >>
1 day ago Friday, February 15 2019 Feb 15, 2019 Friday, February 15, 2019 8:25:00 PM CST February 15, 2019 in Weather
COLUMBIA - Despite the treacherous conditions, some people have no choice but to drive in weather like Friday's. "My... More >>
1 day ago Friday, February 15 2019 Feb 15, 2019 Friday, February 15, 2019 6:48:00 PM CST February 15, 2019 in News
COLUMBIA — The Humane Society of Missouri rescued 21 dogs and 21 cats from a property in western Missouri Friday.... More >>
1 day ago Friday, February 15 2019 Feb 15, 2019 Friday, February 15, 2019 5:42:00 PM CST February 15, 2019 in News
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Another winter blast hit Missouri Friday, causing multiple accidents, closing schools and leaving highway experts... More >>
1 day ago Friday, February 15 2019 Feb 15, 2019 Friday, February 15, 2019 4:03:00 PM CST February 15, 2019 in Top Stories
CALLAWAY COUNTY - A traffic stop for following too close led to troopers seizing oxycodone, THC wax, shatter, a product... More >>
1 day ago Friday, February 15 2019 Feb 15, 2019 Friday, February 15, 2019 3:04:00 PM CST February 15, 2019 in News
JEFFERSON CITY — Ameren Missouri said several thousand jobs will be created as part of an effort to upgrade its... More >>
1 day ago Friday, February 15 2019 Feb 15, 2019 Friday, February 15, 2019 1:49:00 PM CST February 15, 2019 in Top Stories
Columbia, MO
Broken Clouds 28°
2am 30°
3am 30°
4am 30°
5am 30°