BISMARCK, North Dakota – A national data collection system shows that the number of child abuse reports in North Dakota rose last year, but the number of victims fell.
North Dakota Child Protective Services officials say the increase in reported cases may be on the rise because people in general are more vigilant about contacting authorities if there is a suspicion of abuse and because North Dakota moved to a centralized reporting line in January 2021.
Data shows that there were 16,907 reports of child abuse last year in the state. Of these reports, 1,349 children were victims of abuse.
The most recent data available on child deaths due to neglect or abuse in North Dakota is from 2015-2016. North Dakota social services officials say reviews of child deaths and child abuse deaths for 2017 have not yet been completed because the panel cannot write a report until the cases are closed. , reported KFYR-TV.
From 2015 to 2016, seven children, ages 2 months to 9 years old, died of abuse or neglect. Two of these cases had previous reports of child abuse in the home. During this time, nine children, ranging from birth to age two, nearly died from abuse or neglect. Five of these cases had previous reports of child abuse in the home.
“There are signs of possible abuse that people can notice and will file a report. This can include bruises, welts, burns, broken bones, any other unexplained or even suspicious injury. There are also those situations of neglect where young children are unsupervised. There may be children who seem malnourished. Maybe environmental concerns,” said Kirsten Hansen, prevention and protection administrator for Child and Family Services.