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

1 year 11 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said it's complicated when it comes to recognizing child abuse, but some possible signs include the child becoming withdrawn or a drastic change in behavior.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
As COVID-19 spreads, KOMU 8 will continue to update you about the impacts on the community. KOMU 8 News... More >>
33 minutes ago Tuesday, April 07 2020 Apr 7, 2020 Tuesday, April 07, 2020 9:18:23 AM CDT April 07, 2020 in News
ST. LOUIS COUNTY (CNN) - The Ferguson-Florissant school district in Missouri has suspended the home delivery of meals to students... More >>
2 hours ago Tuesday, April 07 2020 Apr 7, 2020 Tuesday, April 07, 2020 7:52:00 AM CDT April 07, 2020 in News
Two insurers -- Allstate and American Family Insurance -- announced Monday they will give back about $800 million to their... More >>
10 hours ago Monday, April 06 2020 Apr 6, 2020 Monday, April 06, 2020 11:49:00 PM CDT April 06, 2020 in News
KOMU 8's Emily Spain talked with registered dietitian Jennifer Tveitnes Monday about how to handle stress eating and keep eating... More >>
12 hours ago Monday, April 06 2020 Apr 6, 2020 Monday, April 06, 2020 9:37:00 PM CDT April 06, 2020 in News
COLUMBIA— An invasive beetle that’s deadly to ash trees has now spread to 78 counties in Missouri, state conservation officials... More >>
13 hours ago Monday, April 06 2020 Apr 6, 2020 Monday, April 06, 2020 8:34:00 PM CDT April 06, 2020 in News
COLUMBIA - The Missouri Department of Agriculture and the State Milk Board wrote an open letter Monday asking grocery stores... More >>
13 hours ago Monday, April 06 2020 Apr 6, 2020 Monday, April 06, 2020 8:25:00 PM CDT April 06, 2020 in News
COLUMBIA — Columbia police arrested four suspects after reports of property damage and injuries resulting from BB gun shots. ... More >>
16 hours ago Monday, April 06 2020 Apr 6, 2020 Monday, April 06, 2020 5:34:00 PM CDT April 06, 2020 in News
COLUMBIA - Governor Mike Parson answered citizens questions about the "Stay Home Missouri" order, specifically why non-essential businesses can remain... More >>
17 hours ago Monday, April 06 2020 Apr 6, 2020 Monday, April 06, 2020 4:30:00 PM CDT April 06, 2020 in News
COLUMBIA - A temporary camp that was set up to help homeless people deal with the COVID-19 outbreak has been... More >>
17 hours ago Monday, April 06 2020 Apr 6, 2020 Monday, April 06, 2020 4:25:00 PM CDT April 06, 2020 in News
COLUMBIA – Animal shelters are looking for alternative ways to allow adoptions and find foster homes during the COVID-19 pandemic.... More >>
18 hours ago Monday, April 06 2020 Apr 6, 2020 Monday, April 06, 2020 3:39:00 PM CDT April 06, 2020 in News
COLUMBIA - Before the pandemic, women going into labor had the option to bring more than one person into the... More >>
19 hours ago Monday, April 06 2020 Apr 6, 2020 Monday, April 06, 2020 2:38:00 PM CDT April 06, 2020 in News
COLUMBIA — As state and commercial testing is more available for the Missourians, the number of confirmed cases is rising.... More >>
19 hours ago Monday, April 06 2020 Apr 6, 2020 Monday, April 06, 2020 2:20:00 PM CDT April 06, 2020 in News
MEXICO – On the first day of Missouri’s statewide stay-at-home order, communities without prior orders in place are now falling... More >>
19 hours ago Monday, April 06 2020 Apr 6, 2020 Monday, April 06, 2020 2:16:00 PM CDT April 06, 2020 in News
COLUMBIA - The Columbia Police Department is asking for help to identify a suspect who threw rocks at windows of... More >>
20 hours ago Monday, April 06 2020 Apr 6, 2020 Monday, April 06, 2020 1:15:00 PM CDT April 06, 2020 in News
CAMDEN COUNTY - John D. Varvera, 48, of Gravios Mills is charged with two felonies and denied bond after deputies... More >>
22 hours ago Monday, April 06 2020 Apr 6, 2020 Monday, April 06, 2020 11:10:00 AM CDT April 06, 2020 in News
As COVID-19 spreads, KOMU 8 will continue to update you about the impacts on the community. KOMU 8 News... More >>
1 day ago Monday, April 06 2020 Apr 6, 2020 Monday, April 06, 2020 8:59:00 AM CDT April 06, 2020 in News
COLUMBIA - The University of Missouri will continue remote learning for the summer term due to the ongoing COVID-19 situation,... More >>
1 day ago Monday, April 06 2020 Apr 6, 2020 Monday, April 06, 2020 8:45:11 AM CDT April 06, 2020 in News
COLUMBIA - Columbia Public Schools announced updates to its learning system for students and staff, who have been working from... More >>
1 day ago Monday, April 06 2020 Apr 6, 2020 Monday, April 06, 2020 8:44:00 AM CDT April 06, 2020 in News
Columbia, MO
Broken Clouds 65°
10am 67°
11am 69°
12pm 70°
1pm 72°