LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WHAS11) – Each year dozens of child abuse stories make headlines.
Most of the 2700 other cases a year in Jefferson County go unheard of in the public eye and it’s a problem that experts say is getting worse.
“As the economy gets worse so does child abuse. Child abuse is a manifestation of stressors going on in a child’s family,” Dr. Melissa Currie of Kosair Charities Forensic Medicine at U of L said.
Kosair Charities is leading an initiative called the “Face It” campaign.
Their goal is to completely eliminate child abuse and neglect in Jefferson County by 2023.
In 2012, 22 children died in Kentucky because of child abuse.
Dr. Currie says there are risk factors that increase the likelihood of child abuse including untreated mental illness, substance abuse and domestic violence.
Stress is also a factor that can play a huge role in a person’s reaction to caring for a child.
“Crying does not hurt a baby. A caregiver who is frustrated while holding that baby can cause permanent harm,” Currie said.
If a baby is crying and the caregiver is stressed, experts recommend placing the baby down in a safe location, walking away for a few minutes to cool down. This decreases the chances of doing something unforgivable.
Experts say if you witness something that causes concern, you should document the situation and consider reporting it to authorities.