Officials examine child abuse case increases in Oswego County
Officials in Oswego County say the amount of child abuse cases reported each year has been rapidly growing, straining the county's resources to battle the problem. But Senator Charles Schumer says national legislation being considered in the House could have a big impact on a local level. Our Candace Hopkins reports.
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FULTON, N.Y. -- "It's an extremely serious problem, it's a growing problem in Oswego County," said Senator Charles Schumer.
On Tuesday, Senator Schumer gathered officials from various Oswego County agencies, all men and women who are on the front lines battling child abuse.
"It's a horrible thing, and any of us who know people who have experienced child abuse, I do, know that it leaves lasting scars, on even the strongest of people," said Schumer.
In recent years, Oswego County has seen a drastic increase in the number of reported child abuse cases, with that number rising 60 percent in 2011 alone. That's why Senator Schumer is urging the House to pass the Violence Against Women Act to provide greater funding to fight child abuse.
"It would create grants that would come from the U.S. Department of Justice to court systems, like Oswego County's, to improve the court's ability to handle large influxes of abuse cases," Senator Schumer explained.
It would allow funding for each county to have their own court advocate to provide increased victim care. That's something Oswego County Social Services Commissioner Gregg Heffner says the county could benefit from.
"Any way that we can support family engagement, in stabilization and engagement in services that will be helpful to them, anyway I think we can support them in that process is a win win for Oswego County and for this community," said Heffner.
Officials say it's community members, themselves, who have the most power to stop child abuse, by speaking out when they see a problem.