LUBBOCK, Texas (KCBD) - Despite a slight drop in child abuse reports from 2019 to 2020, rates remain high in Lubbock, with few affordable therapy resources for victims.
For the past five years, Lubbock’s number of confirmed victims of child abuse or neglect has been higher than the state average, according to a Lubbock United Way Community report.
Derek Danner with the Child Advocacy Center for the South Plains said they are doing what they can to fight this high rate, offering free therapy for victims through their Family Advocacy program.
“Lubbock has always been really high in the number of reports in the state per capita,” Danner said. “We don’t have enough staff to see all the families and kids that we see.”
The Child Advocacy Center has three therapists and interns who also help provide mental health treatment for victims and they assist with referrals. However, Danner said there is a wait for these special services.
“Ours are at no cost. The other capabilities we can refer out, but there is a waiting list at any and all these places,” Danner said.
The stressors of the pandemic have escalated abuse, but it’s difficult to calculate because there was a slight drop in number of people reporting child abuse and interviews conducted to investigate child abuse.
Danner said the number of reports dropped during March’s stay at home orders and during virtual learning, but began to rise in the summer and when students returned to physical classrooms.
From 2019 to 2020, the number of reports went from 5,115 in 2019 to 5,084 reports in 2020. There was a similar dip in interviews investigating abuse. In 2019, 1,028 children were interviewed and 890, were seen in 2020.
“When you start looking at the numbers that we see, 890 kids, and trying to get all those in. You need a bunch of therapist and all to house that. We do have a waiting list for our therapy clients,” Danner said.
The Child Advocacy Center provides services for Lubbock County and ten surrounding counties.