Kentucky had nearly 19,000 child abuse cases in 2015, or 19 for every 1,000 children, which is more than double the national average, according to Norton Children’s Hospital.
Kentucky’s rate ranked second in the nation in 2015, according to a U.S. Department of Health and Human Services report released this year. Indiana’s rate, 17 out of every 1,000 children, ranked fourth.
The number of Kentucky cases in 2015 rose nearly 5.4 percent from the prior year. Cases in Indiana rose more than 13 percent during the same span. Dr. Erin Frazier, chair of the Partnership to Eliminate Child Abuse, said in a press release that the higher number of reported cases could be the result of more people detecting and reporting abuse.
“We’ve been doing a lot of education throughout Kentucky and Indiana to try to reduce the number of children dying from abuse,” Frazier said. “Still, it’s apparent that we have plenty more work to do.”
Noting that April is National Child Abuse Prevention Month, Norton offered the following tips to help address the problem:
- If you’re a parent and you feel yourself about to lose control, it’s OK to step away. Put your child in a safe place and then listen to your favorite song, take a few deep breaths or call a friend.
- Keep a list of friends’ and family members’ phone numbers to call for support.
- If you know a parent who may need a break, offer to babysit so he or she can step away for an hour or two.
- Offer to run an errand for a neighbor with small children who has difficulty getting out of the house. A small gesture like that can greatly reduce stress for the parent.
- Learn the TEN-4 bruising rule: Children under age 4 should not have bruising on the Torso, Ears or Neck. Infants too young to crawl should never have any bruises. If you see these bruises, there is concern the child may have experienced abuse and you can do something before it’s too late.
- In Kentucky, you can report suspected child abuse at 877-KY-SAFE1.