State

Kentucky has nation’s second-highest child abuse, neglect rate

Little boy with a bruised eye.
Little boy with a bruised eye. Getty Images/iStockphoto

Kentucky had nearly 19,000 child abuse victims in 2015, or 19 victims for every 1,000 children, which is more than double the national average, according to the latest national compilation of cases.

Kentucky’s rate ranked second in the nation in 2015, according to a U.S. Department of Health and Human Services report released in January and highlighted by Norton Children’s Hospital. Indiana’s rate, 17 out of every 1,000 children, ranked fourth.

The number of Kentucky cases in 2015 rose nearly 5.4 percent from the prior year. Cases in Indiana rose more than 13 percent during the same span. Dr. Erin Frazier, chair of the Partnership to Eliminate Child Abuse, said in a Norton press release that the higher number of reported cases could be the result of more people detecting and reporting abuse.

“We’ve been doing a lot of education throughout Kentucky and Indiana to try to reduce the number of children dying from abuse,” Frazier said. “Still, it’s apparent that we have plenty more work to do.”

Noting that April is National Child Abuse Prevention Month, Norton offered the following tips to help address the problem:

If you’re a parent and you feel yourself about to lose control, it’s OK to step away.

Keep a list of friends’ and family members’ phone numbers to call for support.

If you know a parent who may need a break, offer to babysit so he or she can step away for an hour or two.

Offer to run an errand for a neighbor with small children who has difficulty getting out of the house. A small gesture like that can greatly reduce stress for the parent.

Learn the TEN-4 bruising rule: Children under age 4 should not have bruising on the Torso, Ears or Neck. Infants too young to crawl should never have any bruises. If you see these bruises, there is concern the child may have experienced abuse and you can do something before it’s too late.

In Kentucky, you can report suspected child abuse at 877-KY-SAFE1.

State

Rate per 1,000 children

Massachusetts

22.413

Kentucky

18.679

New Mexico

17.510

Indiana

16.713

New York

15.834

Michigan

15.734

Alaska

15.558

Rhode Island

15.082

Oklahoma

15.030

South Carolina

13.610

Maine

13.152

Arkansas

13.050

West Virginia

12.795

Oregon

12.085

Mississippi

12.011

District of Columbia

11.413

Louisiana

11.330

Iowa

10.808

Georgia

10.763

Florida

10.663

Utah

10.487

Illinois

10.137

North Dakota

10.119

Puerto Rico

9.425

National

9.189

Connecticut

9.122

Texas

8.844

Ohio

8.753

Montana

8.250

Colorado

8.035

California

7.894

Vermont

7.680

Alabama

7.672

Tennessee

7.587

Delaware

7.525

Nebraska

7.405

Nevada

7.402

Arizona

7.367

Wyoming

6.969

South Dakota

5.078

Maryland

5.036

New Jersey

4.847

Hawaii

4.845

Missouri

4.096

Minnesota

3.986

Idaho

3.750

Wisconsin

3.739

Washington

3.657

North Carolina

3.430

Virginia

3.268

New Hampshire

2.822

Kansas

2.768

Pennsylvania

1.433

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