As a sour economy causes a loss of jobs across South Carolina, the increase in joblessness causes a spike a child abuse. South Carolina child injury lawyers were immediately struck by this disturbing parallel reported by the Greenville News that cited a Boston University study.
In the study researchers examined 18 years of data and found that as the unemployment rate raises 1 percent, child mistreatment reports increase by at least .5 percent per 1,000 children. The data analyzed was collected from child mistreatment reports from the National Child Abuse and Neglect Data System along with data from the Current Population Survey from the Bureau of Labor Statistics on a statewide basis from 1990 to 2008, according to the study’s abstract.
Over the last fiscal year, South Carolina’s Department of Social Services investigated 19,000 cases of child abuse and neglect, an increase in close to 7 percent from the previous year. The number of proven cases of abuse in South Carolina rose 3 percent to nearly 7,000 cases.
From February 2008 to last January South Carolina’s unemployment rate saw a significant hike from 5.5 percent to 12.5 percent. While the economy has began to recover, unemployment has seen a slight decrease and the current rate is around 10.5 percent. According to the Boston University Study, unemployment rates rising is harmful not only to the economy, but also harmful to children. This conclusion suggest that states should consider the unemployment rate when investing in child abuse prevention.
Another parallel to tough economic times is the decline in funding for parental aid. When states, and everyone for that matter, are strapped for cash assistance for families is difficult to find in a time when it seems to be most needed.
In times of economic crisis the stress level in families sharpens, limiting parents ability to cope with their economic hardship, and with children being a large financial burden they may bear the unfortunate impact of stress and unemployment.
The best thing the state can do, from a governmental standpoint, is to adopt an prevention program that intervenes before abuse because the negative impact of child abuse and mistreatment is nearly impossible to undo. Children who have been abused have difficulty developing physically, mentally, and/or sexually, depending on the extent and type of their injuries, leading to any number of issues that affect them later in life.
The child injury attorneys at Howell Law have children and know that in order to protect children and society at large, action must be taken against those individuals and companies that cause harm to children to recover compensation, medical treatment and all other damages from those who are responsible for a child’s injuries and loss. By doing so, we can help children and their families get their lives back on track, compensate the injured child and their families for their losses and prevent future negligent behavior of wrongdoers and companies that would otherwise continue to harm if they were not held accountable for their harmful conduct.