Child Abuse Is A Significant Problem In Oklahoma, Experts Say

The Oklahoma Institute for Child Advocacy says in 2020, 42 children were killed because of child abuse, with more than 14,000 confirmed cases of abuse. CEO Joe Dorman says it's imperative for people to speak up when they suspect any type of abuse involving a child

Friday, February 10th 2023, 5:02 pm



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Experts say child abuse is a horrific problem in the state.

The Oklahoma Institute for Child Advocacy says the key is for more people to speak up when they suspect any type of abuse involving a child. CEO Joe Dorman says in 2020, 42 children were killed because of child abuse, with more than 14,000 confirmed cases of abuse. He says while the recent suspected child abuse case in Tulsa is heartbreaking, it's not uncommon.

"Unfortunately, this isn't a one-time situation, we know there are more instances like this," he said.

He says the group is still waiting on numbers from 2021 and 2022, and while he believes the number could be lower because of less reporting due to the pandemic, he says the cases are more severe.

"It's a gut punch every single time you hear something like this, these children are innocent, they shouldn't have to worry about things like this, they should lead a normal life, be able to make friends, go to school, and have what should be some of the best times of their life," he said.

Dorman says speaking up can help save lives. He says the state would have not known about the death of Athena Brownfield in Cyril earlier this year if a postal worker hadn't noticed her sister walking around all alone.

"Same situation here, if this came hadn't come up and learned more about this young girl, we wouldn't have learned about her brother," he said.

Dorman says child abuse is something far too many Oklahomans are dealing with and there needs to be systems in place to make sure every child is checked on at least once a year.

"As it stands right now, who suspects abuse and neglect in a situation with children is required by law to report that, let the authorities do the investigation, it's better to be safe than sorry," he said.

If you need to report a suspect case of child abuse, call 1-800-522-3511.

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