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Child Abuse Reports Rise
A new report from the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services says 91 of every 10,000 children in the state reportedly were abused last year. If you double that number, you have a rough idea of how many cases were reported just downstate.
The report found a 5.4 percent increase in reports of abused and neglected children statewide between July and October. Just from downstate more than 25,300 reports were phoned in to the child abuse hotline compared to more than 24,000 the same time last year.
Macon County Child Advocacy Center Executive Director Jean Moore said the numbers could be up for a variety of reasons.
“Some of the risk factors for abuse/neglect are poor economic conditions, family stress, a lack of being able to have family social supports," Moore said.
All of these are things that appear to be on the rise.
On the flip side, more reports might not be negative.
“Are we doing a better job of public awareness and reporting?" Moore said. "Because I think abuse has, obviously, it's always been around."
That is why Safe From The Start Project Coordinator Alison Elsea works with parents before abuse happens.
“We’ve had some pregnant, expecting parents in our class before and children and parents who have their children and just would like to learn some new skills," Elsea said.
Advocates also want the public to learn skills on spotting child abuse because it doesn't always come in the form of bruises.
"Do the kids have adequate clothing, do they have socks and shoes?" Moore said. "If the eating habits are different. If they eat way more than they used to or they're not eating? Are they sleeping way more than they used to or are they not sleeping at all?"