Number of child abuse cases in Yakima holds steady

YAKIMA, Wash. -- We're seeing the number of child abuse cases here in Yakima hold steady this year. There have been roughly the same number of cases investigated year to year from January until now. Statewide, the number of cases has risen 13 percent.

State law defines child abuse broadly. It includes injury, sexual abuse and neglect.

Yakima Child Protective Services Administrator says the problem is complex. But points to an underlying cause.

"I think poverty is a major issue," says Child Protective Services Administrator, Ernie Gowen. "That you know when people are overwhelmed with their current circumstances...parenting becomes a difficult process and they're not as attentive to their children's needs and creates a crisis of some sort."

Anyone can report child abuse at any time by calling the toll free hotline: 1-866-END-HARM.