Child Abuse More Frequent

December 22, 2008 7:35:03 PM PST
December 8th. Police arrive at an apartment in Southeast Fresno to find an 18-month old baby girl barely breathing. The little girl dies the next day. Her mother's boyfriend is in jail. December 18th a two year old Clovis girl dies of head injuries. A 13-year old babysitter may now face criminal charges.

These are two of the five deaths doctors at Children's Hospital Central California have witnessed in just the last month. Fourteen children in the Central Valley have died from child abuse this last year.

More than 500 cases of child abuse have come through the doors every year.

Children's Hospital E-R doctor Kala Parker said half of all abuse is directed toward children under two. "They don't have a voice and people realize that. They say, 'Oh, I can't get in trouble because the child can't tell on me.' And then it happens again and again."

Dr. Parker and others at Children's Hospital are trying to get the word out, especially during this holiday season and in a tough economy, child abuse is preventable. Child Advocate Leanne Kozub says, "A lot of the fatalities are usually that instantaneous snap of not being able to cope... being stressed and not being able to step back."

Kozub coordinates the child advocacy program at the hospital. She wants parents to know that while they should love and protect their children, they don't always have to "like" their children and when parents gets stressed, they should ask for help. Or friends and family can offer to help. She said, "If it a situation where maybe it's at school or someone you might have an encounter with at another time just offering a helping hand. 'I see you're a little stressed out... do you need some assistance?'"

If you need to report a concern or have more questions regarding child abuse,call Child Protective Services Hotline (559) 255-8320

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