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How churches can help prevent child abuse

 

In Kentucky, 45 children will experience abuse today; 16,553 will be victims of abuse in one year, and one in 10 children will be abused sexually before their 18th birthdays.

Kentucky ranks among the top ten worst states for child abuse, and the number one leader in child abuse deaths.

A February 2017 report has revealed that child abuse and neglect has risen 55 percent in Kentucky — from 9,934 substantiated child abuse findings in 2012, to 15,378 in 2016. Three hundred thirty-four of those children died or nearly died from the abuse. Half of those children’s deaths were potentially preventable.

Child abuse has become an alarming epidemic in Kentucky. Last month, the Kentucky House of Representations passed a bill aimed at protecting Kentucky’s children from abuse. The House Bill 129 requires anyone convicted of child abuse to register with the state just as a sex offender must register.

Known as the Kylie Jo Sizemore bill, it is named after a four-month-old Nicholasville infant who, in 2016, was seriously injured by her babysitter, Erin Thompson. Thompson, a respected Sunday School teacher who babysat for other children, purposely broke Kylie’s ribs, one of her legs, and fractured her skull causing brain damage that will affect Kylie for life. Thompson has been charged with first-degree criminal abuse.

According to the American Medical Association, “family members or trusted friends or persons of authority commit nearly 90 percent of substantiated child abuse cases.”

Last year, 6,096 children received critical services at one of Kentucky’s children’s advocacy centers. Eighty percent involved sexual abuse; 32 percent were under age five; and 70 percent were females.

In response to this growing national crisis, the Southern Baptist Convention urges all Southern Baptists “to pray for children who are victims of abuse, to stand for their protection from abuse, and to support safe and healthy children

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