Child Abuse Cases in Benton County Hits Record High in May

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Last month the Children's Advocacy Center of Benton County reported 85 cases of child abuse, the highest ever in one month.

“I would say most of the cases that we saw last month were sexual abuse but we did actually have a larger number of physical abuse cases than we typically see in a month," says Andrew Lentz, Forensic Interviewer for the center.

Lentz says he thinks there are two reasons behind this record number.  He says people are becoming more aware of child abuse and the sex abuse scandal at Penn State, where assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky faces 52 counts of sexually abusing young boys.

“He was arrested in November of last year and since then we have seen elevated numbers.  So we've been busy in January, February, March and those were almost record setting months."

Lentz says more and more sex offenders are being put behind bars.

“Since we started the Children's Advocacy center in 2000 prosecution rates for these cases have gone up 2,000 percent,” adds Lentz.

Lentz says if someone has offended once more than likely they will do it again in fact, the average abuser has 244 victims in their lifetime.

“Over 90 percent of the time the abuser is going to be someone that the child knows and trusts,” says Lentz.

Northwest Arkansas Community College has also helped in the fight against child abuse in Benton County.  NWACC has teamed up with the National Children's Protection Training Center. 

“They're really pioneers in a course work called ‘CAST’ that is an associate’s degree that specializes in child abuse.  So they have classes that our geared towards child abuse," explains Lentz.

To report child abuse you can call the Arkansas Anonymous hotline at (800) 482-5964 or the national hotline at (800) 4-A-CHILD.