Alan Heckler, Ozarks News Journal

SPRINGFIELD, MO – Child abuse has been a growing trend in Missouri over the last few years, according to the Springfield Child Advocacy Center.

Child abuse has affected over 7300 children in Missouri and a total of about 1200 cases are here in the Ozarks, which is the most in the state, according to Executive Director Barbara Brown-Johnson of the Springfield Child Advocacy Center.

“Over the last ten years, we have seen growth of 88% over ten years. So that’s quite a phenomena when you look at serving child abuse victims.” said Brown-Johnson.

U.S. Sen. Roy Blunt Credit: Office of U.S. Senator Roy Blunt
U.S. Sen. Roy Blunt
Credit: Office of U.S. Senator Roy Blunt

U.S. Senator Roy Blunt recently visited the Springfield Child Advocacy Center. His goal is to push President Obama to put the Victims of Child Abuse Act or (VOCCA) back on his budget and the extension of the bill as well.

“It’s a little bit above the former authorize number but it’s not so much above that we think it becomes a big target” said Sen. Blunt.

The Springfield Child Advocacy Center serves eighteen counties and has a satellite location in West Plains that serves six counties. One of the main goals throughout the organization is to simply hear what children are saying.

“Kids often only tell their story once. So, if something positive doesn’t happen from the one time that they choose to tell then they often don’t tell again.” said Brown-Johnson.

Johnson stresses the importance of parents and others listening to the child and taking responsibility.

“Whoever the child discloses to now has to make the call. So, there can’t be a lot of passing the buck so to speak.” said Brown-Johnson.