Child abuse cases and foreclosures linked? - FOX 10 News | fox10phoenix.com

Child abuse cases and foreclosures linked?

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PHOENIX -

Does a higher foreclosure rate mean more kids will become victims of physical abuse? A new pediatric study says so.

It's a disturbing trend right here in our state. The more foreclosures in a given community = the more cases of child abuse.

The medical journal "Pediatrics" drew that conclusion after breaking down a decade of data and the ChildHelp Children's Center of Arizona agrees with the findings.

"As a society this is one subject that we generally don't like to talk about around the dinner table and frankly we have to break ourselves of that," says Robert Bell with ChildHelp Children's Center of Arizona.

Robert Bell, Justice Coordinator with the center called the child abuse level in the U.S. an epidemic and while the number of cases in Arizona hasn't mirrored our foreclosure rate, there's an even more disturbing trend.

"The severity of child abuse cases that are reported does seem to be increasing," says Bell.

It isn't just the foreclosure numbers or the housing market but the overall economy. The unemployment rate, the signs of recession that put stress on families, and it gets worse, especially for kids in Arizona.

In 2008, 51 child abuse victims died in our state. That number shot up 25 percent to 64 in 2009 and to 70 in 2010.

Whether or not that increase in fatalities is due to foreclosures is anyone's guess.

"Children don't have the voice to stand up and say you can't do this to me. They rely on us as a community to do that for them," says Bell.

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