Deputy Defines Child Abuse

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FORT SMITH (KFSM)- The Minnesota Viking's Adrian Peterson being charged with child abuse made international headlines.

But when does disciplining a child turn into abuse?

"We get that question a lot from parents,” said Sebastian County Deputy Lt. Philip Pevehouse, "It’s the result of the injuries and that's usually the line."

Pevehouse said his department sees up to 12 cases of child abuse a month, and there are signs one can look out for that classify it as abuse.

"Bruising, whelping, red marks that don't go away very easily," Pevehouse said.

Ashley Ahlert is the Advancement Coordinator for the Children`s Emergency Shelter in Fort Smith.

“For the whole state, over 7,700 children entered the foster care population in 2013 due to maltreatment and abuse,” Ahlert said.

Which is why the shelter is open to kids in need, considering Sebastian County comes in at the highest in the state, according to Ahlert.

Pevehouse said the repercussions for child abuse shouldn't be taken lightly.

"It could lead to second degree battery,” Pevehouse said, "If the victim is under the age of 12, it doesn't even fool around with third degree battery which is a misdemeanor. It goes automatically to second degree.”

“'Bruises tell a lot but what you can`t see is the abuse on the inside,” Ahlert said.

Pevehouse said a charge of second degree battery is a felony.

For more on how you can get a child help click here.

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