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Glimmer of hope found within new grim statistics
The grim statistics about Yuma County's children continue.
Local child abuse authority Diane Umphress, executive director of Amberly's Place, each year tracks the record of crimes of abuse against children, and each year it seems to get worse.
She reports that in 2012 there was a dramatic increase in abuse of children, both physical and sexual.
The majority of reported cases involved child sexual abuse, which soared a third higher than the previous year, reaching 421 reported cases. Within those tragic statistics is an even more horrific fact about the victims.
“One of the things we are noticing is a dramatic increase in child sexual abuse in children birth to 4 years old,” Umphress said. An apparent reason is that the abusers believe these young children are less likely to tell about the crime, or if they do that they will be less likely to be believed. It is a diabolical way to hide the abuser's perversity.
Yuma County is not alone in this trend, although there is no comfort in that fact. Umphress says the same thing is happening across the nation.
It is hard for most of us to contemplate the idea of abusing children due to its evil nature. But we cannot turn our backs to this reality.
Contrary to what many want to believe, the abusers are typically not strangers. In fact, they are often parents or stepparents or another family member. The fact that the abuser is often a person the child loves and trusts makes the crime even worse than it already is.
If there is one glimmer of hope in the new statistics, it is that one reason the numbers may be going up here is that more people are reporting their suspicions of abuse.
In past commentary on this situation we have supported Umphress and others in urging that suspected abuse be reported to the authorities, not just because it is the law in some cases, but so that the child can be protected and so that the abuser can be prevented from committing even more crimes against children.
That is especially true for the youngest victims who are less likely to be able to speak up for themselves.
We are glad to see people are apparently taking heed of this request.