Experts See Jump In Abuse Cases And Remind The Public, If You See Something, Say Something

Thursday, October 21st 2021, 7:15 am
By: Jordan Dafnis

In Oklahoma it's against the law if you suspect a child is being abused and don't report it. 

The data is still coming in on the number of child abuse cases related to the pandemic, but most local experts say they are now seeing an increase in cases

"Even with the pandemic even though we had several months where we had low numbers those numbers are now compensating or bouncing back where we are predicting to see more kids than we did last year," said Ryan Brown, a Specialist with OU. 

He wants community members to feel confident reporting abuse if they suspect it. 

"A lot of people are like well I don't want to call in because they may come back and sue me you are actually protected if you do it in good faith you are actually protected because you are trying to protect that child. Trying to protect that person," said Brown. 

Brown says there's a very fine line between child abuse and discipline. Basically, if you leave a mark that can qualify as physical abuse. 

Oklahoma is one of 16 states that still allows corporal punishment. 

"Corporal punishment can lead to Longterm psychological maltreatment. Kids have this stigma as a child, and we see that kids can revert back to that behavior even once the spanking has been over with," said Brown. 

He says research shows other forms of discipline that do not involve anything physical can be much more effective. 

"If you just spank a kid for misbehaving, they are not learning why they misbehaved. If I have a kid that reaches for something and I just spank their hand they are like well, why did you spank my hand? So you really have to educate the kid on why you did this?" 

One of the most common forms of abuse is neglect. Brown says if you are looking for ways to help family or friends--- offering time and services to busy parents can make a huge impact. 

He also wants parents to know that if they need help it is okay to ask. 

"Recognizing that you may have those stressors and reaching out for resources that through your local church and resources that may be available and ask for help," said Brown. 

You can report abuse at the Child Abuse Hotline, 1-800-522-3511 

Here are some other resources for parents.