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Cases of child abuse involving drugs a disturbing trend in Harrison County

Updated: Wednesday, April 16 2014, 06:40 PM EDT

wtov9.com
HARRISON COUNTY, Ohio -- With April being Child Abuse Prevention Month, local organizations are making efforts to raise awareness on child abuse.
In Harrison County, an increase in the number of cases reported reveals an alarming trend. Sixty-one reports of physical abuse came in last year, with 50 more reports of sexual abuse. Those numbers pale in comparison to the increase in cases stemming from drug abuse.
There are 388 pinwheels at the courthouse in Cadiz, each representing a case of child abuse. That total is actually higher than the 356 cases reported last year.
To Social Services Supervisor Linda Porter, those higher numbers suggest the word is getting out.
“I'm hoping that the reason these cases are up is because we are getting reports from people's awareness, so it's protecting more children,” Porter said. “Instead of having children that are abused and nobody calling, we would rather have somebody call and it not be true than to not call at all and some child be injured or hurt.”
The numbers really spike with cases related to drug abuse. They continue to rise each year.
“Parents that use drugs take their children on drug buys and basically neglect their children because of drug use,” Porter said. “And it's not the marijuana use, it's the cocaine, it's the meth, the crack, the heroin -- the hard drugs.”
In 2010, Harrison County had only one drug-related case reported to Job and Family Services.
Porter said she has noticed more cases related to meth labs this year.
In extreme cases, which vary widely, children are removed from the home and placed with relatives or foster care.
But the process doesn't begin without awareness.
“We've had children that have been sexually abused as young as 2 months old,” she said.
“I've had a child that I actually took to the hospital with bruising on his face, a complete hand mark,” Porter said. “A big mark, the size of a board on his back and legs.”
In continuing their efforts to raise awareness for child abuse, job and Family Services will hold a 5K run/walk at Sally Buffalo Park from noon to 2 p.m. on Saturday.

Cases of child abuse involving drugs a disturbing trend in Harrison County


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