Local #officials see #increase in #number of #child abuse #cases

Child abuse could be happening to someone close to you and you don’t even know it. Officials said the number of cases in West Central Illinois are up 44 percent already from this time last year.

Those who work with victims of child abuse know how difficult each case can be.

“A lot of it is somebody that they know. So it’s very personal, very hard for somebody to report on someone they dearly love.” said Victim/Witness Coordinator Terry Gibson.

That’s why the Advocacy Network for Children raised a flag today at the Adams County courthouse to honor the victims of child abuse. They want more people to be aware of how big of an issue this is.

“Everyone can be apart of the solution to end child abuse. That is to stand up and speak up on behalf of children and report suspected child abuse and neglect.” said executive director Todd Shackelford.

The number of child abuse cases is rising but officials believe that’s because more people are reporting these cases which they said is crucial.

“Getting a child to the authorities and getting a child to treatment services and help gets them back on the road to being a kid again.” said Shackelford.

Officials said there are many factors that drive child abuse and many stem from economic hardships.

“There’s a lot of people that see the results of child abuse and think maybe I should’ve said something. So, if you think maybe you should’ve then you should have.” said Gibson.

Officials said there are tell tale signs of child abuse. They said the common ones are physical such as unexplained bruises and marks. Other signs include changes in behavior and a lack of interest in activities the child usually enjoys.

If you notice any of these signs report them to police.