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

1 year 6 months 3 weeks 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said it's complicated when it comes to recognizing child abuse, but some possible signs include the child becoming withdrawn or a drastic change in behavior.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
SUNRISE BEACH (AP) — Authorities say a man has drowned in the Lake of the Ozarks. The Missouri State... More >>
1 hour ago Monday, November 11 2019 Nov 11, 2019 Monday, November 11, 2019 12:30:32 PM CST November 11, 2019 in News
COLUMBIA - Snow, cold weather and some slicks roads prompted scattered closings around mid-Missouri on Monday. The list of... More >>
3 hours ago Monday, November 11 2019 Nov 11, 2019 Monday, November 11, 2019 10:20:00 AM CST November 11, 2019 in News
LINN COUNTY — The North Missouri Arts council will conclude its Veterans Day celebration with a special ceremony Monday. ... More >>
10 hours ago Monday, November 11 2019 Nov 11, 2019 Monday, November 11, 2019 3:30:00 AM CST November 11, 2019 in News
CENTRALIA — Many girls dream of getting a horse one day. For Gracie Smith, that dream came true today, thanks... More >>
17 hours ago Sunday, November 10 2019 Nov 10, 2019 Sunday, November 10, 2019 8:43:00 PM CST November 10, 2019 in News
MID-MISSOURI - The weekend of November 9/10, 2019 felt like fall, something our area has lacked for much of the... More >>
18 hours ago Sunday, November 10 2019 Nov 10, 2019 Sunday, November 10, 2019 7:18:00 PM CST November 10, 2019 in Weather
JEFFERSON CITY - Trees and wreaths filled the halls and rooms of the Goldschmidt Cancer Center Sunday afternoon. The Capital... More >>
18 hours ago Sunday, November 10 2019 Nov 10, 2019 Sunday, November 10, 2019 7:17:00 PM CST November 10, 2019 in News
COLUMBIA – Navigating Missouri’s lettered supplemental route system can sometimes feel like trying to navigate a jumbled mess. Instead... More >>
21 hours ago Sunday, November 10 2019 Nov 10, 2019 Sunday, November 10, 2019 4:50:00 PM CST November 10, 2019 in News
ST. LOUIS (AP) — Some Missouri business owners looking to profit from the state's burgeoning marijuana industry worry they're... More >>
1 day ago Sunday, November 10 2019 Nov 10, 2019 Sunday, November 10, 2019 11:14:00 AM CST November 10, 2019 in News
COLUMBIA - From jumping across tabletops to nestling between books, twenty cats call Papa’s Cat Café home. The interactive café... More >>
1 day ago Sunday, November 10 2019 Nov 10, 2019 Sunday, November 10, 2019 7:00:00 AM CST November 10, 2019 in News
COLUMBIA - A news release from the Columbia Police Department said officers responded to a home invasion at the 1100... More >>
1 day ago Sunday, November 10 2019 Nov 10, 2019 Sunday, November 10, 2019 12:25:00 AM CST November 10, 2019 in News
BOONE COUNTY - Three people were injured in a car crash on Highway 63 Saturday evening. According to a... More >>
1 day ago Saturday, November 09 2019 Nov 9, 2019 Saturday, November 09, 2019 11:30:00 PM CST November 09, 2019 in News
COLUMBIA — Participants gathered at West Middle School on Saturday morning to spread awareness for diabetes. "The Diabetes Dash... More >>
1 day ago Saturday, November 09 2019 Nov 9, 2019 Saturday, November 09, 2019 6:39:00 PM CST November 09, 2019 in News
COLUMBIA — Community members came together in MU Speaker's Circle to call for justice for missing woman Mengqi Ji Elledge.... More >>
1 day ago Saturday, November 09 2019 Nov 9, 2019 Saturday, November 09, 2019 5:04:00 PM CST November 09, 2019 in News
CENTRALIA - Hubbell Power Systems workers in Centralia will return to work Monday morning with increased wages. A majority... More >>
1 day ago Saturday, November 09 2019 Nov 9, 2019 Saturday, November 09, 2019 4:47:00 PM CST November 09, 2019 in News
EMINENCE, Mo. (AP) — A herd of seven wild horses that were causing problems at a Missouri state park have... More >>
1 day ago Saturday, November 09 2019 Nov 9, 2019 Saturday, November 09, 2019 4:43:08 PM CST November 09, 2019 in News
COLUMBIA - Children got the chance to learn about science through hands-on experiments at the Columbia Public Schools' Planetarium on... More >>
1 day ago Saturday, November 09 2019 Nov 9, 2019 Saturday, November 09, 2019 3:26:00 PM CST November 09, 2019 in News
COLUMBIA — Pulaski County deputies and the South Central Drug Task Force seized large amounts of heroin, methamphetamine and cash... More >>
1 day ago Saturday, November 09 2019 Nov 9, 2019 Saturday, November 09, 2019 3:05:00 PM CST November 09, 2019 in News
COLUMBIA — An inmate died after becoming unresponsive in a booking cell of the Pettis County Jail Saturday morning. ... More >>
1 day ago Saturday, November 09 2019 Nov 9, 2019 Saturday, November 09, 2019 3:01:00 PM CST November 09, 2019 in News
Columbia, MO
Broken Clouds 23°
2pm 22°
3pm 23°
4pm 23°
5pm 23°