HUNTSVILLE, AL (WAFF) - Newly available research is shining a spotlight on child abuse and the costs associated with handling such cases.
It shows a jump of more than half a million dollars from previous estimates, according to the National Children’s Advocacy Center (NCAC).
At the Madison County Courthouse on Friday, Chris Newlin, executive director of the NCAC, held a press conference about the economic impact of child abuse, saying the new findings dramatically reinforce the need for the community to prevent it from happening.
“Every case of child abuse that occurs, it will cost over the course of that individual’s lifetime $800,000. If when you couple that with the yearly number of cases that occur, the annual impact that we incur over the course of someone’s lifetime is over $428 billion, every year, year after year, because of people abusing children,” Newlin said.
Nine percent of all Medicaid costs are associated with child abuse, he added.
So what can families do? Have conversations with kids about child abuse just like we reinforce other things with them like safely crossing the street, or staying clear of a hot stove.
“Same thing with child abuse. Talk about child abuse. If you feel uncomfortable, if you feel like something isn’t right, come share with me and talk with me. You’re not going to be in trouble,” Newlin stated.
He was joined by Huntsville Police Chief Mark McMurray, Madison Police Chief David Jernigan, Madison County Sheriff Kevin Turner, Madison County DHR Director Tonita Phipps, and NCAC staff members to discuss the new data, provide steps every member of our community can take in the fight to end child abuse, and rally support for survivors.
“As a community, we are judged by how well we protect our children. They are the most precious and treasured gifts we have and we must do as much as we can to ensure their continued protection and safety,” Jernigan said.
“We would prefer to prevent abuse from happening, both because it’s the right thing to do and because it’s incredibly beneficial for our entire community, our state and our nation economically,” Newlin added.
April is National Child Abuse Prevention month.