Child abuse cases rise in summer

There are many child abuse incidents in Amarillo. Unfortunately, in the summer, those numbers go up.

Why does that happen?

92 kids, that's how many The Bridge Children's Advocacy Center has interviewed this month alone. Its executive director says they see a 30% increase in cases involving physical and sexual abuse in June, July, and August.

April Leming says it's because kids are out of school.

"Primarily I think in the summer time when kids are in new places, they are maybe going to relatives, they are maybe going to summer camps, they are maybe going to visit people they haven't been around before," said Leming.

According to The Bridge, a stranger is involved in only 1% of the child abuse cases. The other 99% involve someone the child knows. Leming says, children are more prone to talk about abuse from a stranger than from someone they know.

"It's when parents and care takers may not address that you know even if its your aunt, or your uncle, or your brother, or your brothers friends or the neighbor that you still need to tell me if someone if looking at or touching you in your private places."

Leming says there are key things to monitor in your child's behavior for abuse.

"Changes in behavior, like if your child has wanted to go to a certain place, but then all of sudden they are being reluctant about going there."

Also look for extra gifts, money, cokes, or candy, call attention, and ask questions.

Leming says it's important to speak constantly to your children about appropriate and inappropriate behavior and touching.

But at a time when child abuse is under the microscope, don't let it scare you from letting your kids participate in activities.

"You want your kids to be in activities in the summer time, that's perfectly normal and something you do want to encourage, you just have to monitor those activities as well."

She adds, The Bridge is on track to set a record this month for the number of children interviewed.

If you suspect abuse, call authorities or Child Protective Services at 1-800-252-5400.