Seminar focuses on epidemic of child abuse

Published 5:57 pm Saturday, April 26, 2008

The statistics are sobering. Particularly since April is child abuse prevention month.

• Over 3 million incidents of child abuse will be reported this year.

• As many as 5,000 children will be killed this year because of abuse.

• Fifty percent of all children being abused are school age.

• A child will be abused in some manner every 10 seconds in the United States.

• A child will be sexually abused in some manner every two minutes in the United States.

Sgt. Bill Davis of the Beaumont Police Department, retired, has spent over 20 years of his 36 years as a police officer specializing in child abuse and sex crimes investigations. He was on the campus of Lamar State College-Port Arthur at the child development center conducting a seminar titled “Child Abuse — A National Epidemic” for daycare workers. He also authored the book, “So Innocent, Yet So Dead.”

“There are four types of child abuse,” Davis said. “There is physical, emotional, neglect and sexual. “It’s one of the worst epidemics in the nation and it’s so commonplace. Most don’t recognize it unless there’s a dead child involved.”

Davis began his program 25 years ago as an investigator and as he became more aware of the tragedies of child abuse. He decided then there were two ways to curtail the epidemic: through investigations and awareness with education.

“We can reach more people and touch lives than on a case by case basis. We’ve targeted daycare personnel to look for the four different types of child abuse,” he said.

He added that Chapter 261 of the Texas Family Code says anyone who knows or suspects child abuse is bound by the law to report it to local law enforcement agencies or to Child Protective Services. Failure to not report it could result in six months of jail time.

“Remember, every child has a right to be heard and a right to be believed, no matter who the perpetrator is,” Davis said. “Of over 94 percent of perpetrators of physical, sexual, neglect or emotional abuse, the child lives with them. Too many times we think it’s a stranger when it’s not.”

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