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Cases of Child Abuse and Neglect Increasing in North Dakota

GRAPHIC: Rates of child abuse and neglect are down for five straight years in the U.S., but in North Dakota the numbers have been rising. Graphic courtesy Prevent Child Abuse America.
GRAPHIC: Rates of child abuse and neglect are down for five straight years in the U.S., but in North Dakota the numbers have been rising. Graphic courtesy Prevent Child Abuse America.
January 14, 2013

BISMARCK, N.D. - Although the rate of child abuse and neglect has fallen for five straight years in the United States, the trend has been quite different in North Dakota. The number of cases in the state has been rising for years, and that will likely continue along with population growth, according to Tim Hathaway, executive director of Prevent Child Abuse North Dakota.

"We certainly know that the oil country has seen an impact in terms of the number of child-neglect situations that have come up and the severity of those child-neglect cases, so in the state of North Dakota we still have some challenges."

Hathaway says the data also show that the youngest of children - those from birth to age 3 - are the ones taking the brunt of neglect and abuse.

"As you dig deeper into some of that report, we're not real sure we've made a whole lot of headway with child sexual abuse. And the issue of child neglect, I'm not sure how much headway we've made around that."

The state received 9,500 reports of suspected child abuse and neglect in 2010. That's nearly double the figure from the year 2000. Nationally, an estimated 3.4 million referrals were received by Child Protective Service agencies in 2011.

More information is available at www.stopchildabusend.com.

John Michaelson, Public News Service - ND