Fewer Kentucky children are dying at the hands of an abuser, but the number of cases of child abuse is drastically rising.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Children’s Bureau releases an annual report on child abuse and fatalities. The most recent report uses data from 2016. The study found that 15 Kentucky children died that year from abuse. Fatalities have been declining or have remained flat in the past several years, but in 2016, the commonwealth had the second-highest abuse rate in the nation. Dr. Erin Frazier is medical director for prevention and wellness at Norton Children’s Hospital in Louisville. She says she hopes more education has led to earlier interventions.
"And I'm very hopeful that we're starting to learn to recognize signs of abuse and make reports early so that children are being protected before they actually have a fatal event."
Kentucky has a mandatory reporting law that requires any member of the public to report suspected child abuse or neglect.