Skip to main content

Listen

Read

Watch

Schedules

Programs

Events

Give

Account

Donation Heart Ribbon

Child Abuse Getting More Severe In San Diego County And Nation

Audio

The injuries among child abuse victims are becoming more severe in San Diego County. Officials say people need to be educated on how to identify abuse and report it.

The injuries among child abuse victims are becoming more severe in San Diego County. Officials say people need to be educated on how to identify abuse and report it.

County officials say the number of child abuse cases has fallen this year from about 9,000 to around 7,000. However, the degree of mistreatment has deepened which is consistent with national trends.

Officials are seeing more head injuries, rib fractures and broken legs and arms among victims under the age of one. They're also seeing more severe neglect. Children are underfed and they're illnesses are going untreated.

Debra Zanders-Willis is the head of the county's child welfare services. She attributes the harsher abuse to family dysfunction.

"Maybe post traumatic stress, depression, substance abuse, domestic violence," Zanders-Willis said. "Those are the families we're seeing that we have to provide intervention for."

Poverty and inexperience are also factors. Zanders-Willis says the bulk of child abusers are young parents under the age of 24 who have multiple children under the age of three.

Want more KPBS news?
Find us on Twitter and Facebook, or subscribe to our newsletters.

To view PDF documents, Download Acrobat Reader.