Thursday night, the Lubbock Christian University behavioral sciences department hosted a seminar regarding children who have been victims of abuse.
The event, entitled "Child Abuse: Changing Lives," was led by LCU Board of Trustee's member and Texas Tech professor Dr. Patti Patterson, MD, Director of the Pediatric Child Abuse Center in Lubbock and Professor of Pediatrics at Texas Tech University.
Dr. Patterson started the seminar by interacting with the crowd, gathering views and common knowledge about childhood abuse. Her presentation of "The Long-Term Consequences of Child Maltreatment" then revealed the shocking national and local statistics of child abuse.
"(Nationally) it averages about five child fatalities a day (from abuse) ... " said Dr. Patterson. "Much abuse, though, is never reported ... and those kids who experience abuse are usually put back in the home where they were abused."
In Lubbock, Dr. Patterson revealed there were an astonishing 1,378 cases of child abuse cited by CPS in 2010, which equates to 20 children per 1,000 being abused. This number is nearly twice as many cases of abuse per capita than are seen in counties of similar size in Texas.
Poverty, drug related activity, and socioeconomic statuses are some of the big risk factors for child abuse. Patterson used a study during the seminar that focused on adverse childhood experiences, showing how childhood abuse, neglect, or family violence has adverse impact on a person's physical and mental health for the rest of their lives, even 50 years after the fact. Studies show that a few of the long term consequences are smoking, obesity, alcohol abuse, depression, suicide, teen pregnancy, increase in disease, and a higher number of sexual partners.
LCU student, Crissta Morrison stated, “I found it amazing that so many problems faced in society today could be drastically reduced, possible eliminated, by stopping child abuse.”
Dr. Patterson strongly recommends researching the ACE (Adverse Childhood Experience) Study for more information and statistics on this heart wrenching topic. She also advises anyone who even suspects child abuse to call their local CPS. Doing so, she believes, might save lives.
“We have a responsibility as citizens, as members of humanity, and as Christians to learn all we can and to answer the call to action. Education is always a great start in dealing with any issue,” encourages Dr. Blassingame.
Educate yourself on the issue of child abuse, and as Dr. Patterson put it, “pray for the children whose monsters are real.”