Child abuse on the rise in Maine

BANGOR, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- Data from the Department of Health and Human Services shows cases of physical child abuse in Maine have increased 58 percent since 2011.

The number of cases spiked in 2012 and continued to rise, but not as drastically, in 2013.

In 2011 the total number of cases was 563. The next year, it went up to 807. In 2013, it increased even more to 891.

There was an even bigger increase in these types of child abuse cases for children under 5. In 2011, the total was 241, and by 2013 it had gone up to 424, a 76 percent increase.

The Department of Health and Human Services says it didn't do anything differently in 2012, and that there were no significant policy or staffing shifts. However, the Office of Child and Family Services has seen an increase in substance abusing parents, as well as mental health issues and domestic violence.

Experts say it's important to take action as soon as you notice any abuse, but especially when children are involved.

"Children are very resilient, and I think when we see numbers like this, we go, 'Oh my goodness, there are so many children now who are damaged and are going to grow up and be not beneficial to our society,'" Amanda Cost of Spruce Run-Womancare Alliance said. "That's not true, and the way it can be different is if we step in and we intervene and we make reports when we suspect child abuse is going on."


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