Most child abuse incidents are kept secret

Friday, May 6, 2011 - 8:42am

Every year, authorities in the Ark-La-Tex investigate dozens of child abuse cases.  Earlier this year, the death of little Anna Celeste in Caddo Parish was just one of more than 1500 deaths that will occur in our country this year because of it.

Fifty to sixty percent of child abuse cases go unreported sometimes out of embarrassment and other times out of fear.  One of these cases was Anna Celeste Lowe, 5, who was beaten to death by her step-mother back in January.

But children stepping up and speaking out can mean the difference between life and death.  Unfortunately, it was too late in the case of Anna Celeste.  Two kids in the house that saw what was going on spoke up in questioning, said Lt. Ed Baswell of the Bossier Sheriff's Office.

Speaking out about physical abuse is one thing, but signs of verbal and emotional abuse are not as obvious.  Sandi Davis, a licensed family counselor, told us that type of abuse can sometimes be more detrimental than a physical wound.  She has had children tell her that their parents told them something about the other parent that they should not know and they cannot erase it from their memory causing them stress.  Authorities say custody battles are often grounds for abuse problems. 

But there is one thing parents can do to ensure their kids know they care about them.  "Give them love and support even when kids are misbehaving that's when they need the love the most," said Davis.

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