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Child Abuse Increasing Shasta Health Risks

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Updated: 4/26/2013 7:14 pm
An alarming study shows Shasta County children are far more likely to experience child abuse, neglect, and other adverse experiences than kids in most other parts of the country.

Even worse, we now know these experiences have a negative physical and mental impact later in life

Growing up in Shasta County, you're more likely experience abuse, witness domestic violence, and live in a house with mental illness; according to a new report.

“We have more people with higher numbers of adverse childhood experiences and fewer people who have experienced 0 of the 10 experiences,” Said Robin Schurig of the Strengthening Families Cooperative.

Shasta's rates are higher across the board. Notably, 54% of children experience verbal abuse compared to 25% nationwide. 57% of Shasta households have substance abuse compared to 29% nationwide.

“It really does persist throughout all socio-economic levels, people from all walks of life can experience child maltreatment,” said Schurig.

The rates are shocking enough, but what's worse is how these experiences are shown to cause real issues later in life.

“These people with these severe health issues had an increased amount of these adverse childhood experiences,” said Rachelle Modena of the Shasta County Child Abuse Coordinating Council.

Affected children are at higher risk of stroke, cancer, diabetes, obesity, suicide, and a long list of other complications.

“There are a lot of things parents can do to build resilience in their children,” said Modena.

“There is a set of five protective factors that have been shown to not only protect against child abuse, but also to promote healthy childhood development,” said Schurig.

The protective factors are the ability to handle the stress of being a parent, knowing when to rely on others for help, getting support in times of need, knowing how your child should be developing, and encouraging your child to interact positively with others

“We’re really focusing here in our community of what we can do to strengthen families and to prevent those adverse childhood experiences,” said Modena.

One reason Shasta County’s rates are inflated in part to the fact that child abuse increases with unemployment, poverty, and substance abuse.

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