Missing Hampton boy case raises questions about preventing child abuse and neglect

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HAMPTON, Va. (WAVY) – It has been 6 days since Hampton Police, the FBI, family, friends and the community have continued to search for 4-year-old Codi Bigsby. Codi’s father, Cory Bigsby, was recently arrested on seven counts of child neglect.

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This, stemming from incidents, court documents indicate where he would leave his children, all aged 5 and under, alone at home.

Many in the community have wondered how it got to this point? Or could it have been avoided?

Investigators may never have the exact answers in Codi’s case, but Dr. Viola Vaughan-Eden, an NSU professor and consultant for the local nonprofit, champions for kids Preventing Child Abuse According to Hampton Roads, most cases of child neglect and abuse begin with stress.

“We know that child abuse and neglect happens on a continuum, we know that some people have more aggressive personalities, but generally the day-to-day issues are people who are stressed out and can’t handle the stress. “, said Dr. Vaughan-Eden.

She says it’s too early to tell whether COVID-19 has led to an increase in child abuse and neglect, as the numbers are not yet known.

“What forensic pediatricians find is that when children come to the emergency room, they come in with more serious injuries. What is happening, we speculate, is that child abuse did not stop overnight because Covid happened, but it went unreported because mandated journalists such as the teachers and others who would see children on a daily basis do not have their eyes and ears on them. So yes, we assume that is still happening and we assume it may have increased due to the amount of stress everyone is under in this era of Covid,” Dr Vaughan-Eden said.

She says prevention starts with education which can take the form of webinars, zoom chats, activity ideas and local programs. The big thing for parents, she says, is understanding that it’s okay to ask for help.
As for the community, she says if you see something, say something.

“If someone sees their neighbor leaving their child, now is the time to intervene, not after the children have burned down the house or swallowed poison or disappeared. If you’re not comfortable going to knock on the door, now is the time to call the police or social services,” Dr. Vaughan-Eden said.

Moving forward, Dr Vaughn-Eden says ending corporal punishment would be a great start. She says research shows it can harm a child’s brain, increase anxiety and teach aggression.

“I haven’t had a single case of child death where at some point there was no spanking or discipline or I disciplined the child and the discipline got out of control,” he said. she stated.

She says she would like to see an environment “without affected zone” established that promotes effective non-hitting parenting techniques.

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