Louisville families share stories of child abuse to raise awaren - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Louisville families share stories of child abuse to raise awareness

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At Kosair, Lori Brent learned her son Jake had been the victim of child abuse. At Kosair, Lori Brent learned her son Jake had been the victim of child abuse.
LOUISVILLE, Ky (WDRB) -- Broken limbs, fractured skulls and sexual abuse happen every year to thousands of Kentucky children. April is dedicated to raising awareness of the issue. 

That's why child service agencies across the state held a rally on Wednesday at the Big Four Bridge to bring awareness to child abuse, and they used real people and real stories to get our attention.

"I was so hurt and just devastated, you know those moments when you just drop to your knees," said Lori Brent, Mother of child abuse victim.

It was an alarming discovery about her son Jake that brought Lori Brent to her knees.

"He was fussy, I didn't know what was going on," Brent said. "I had taken him to my pediatrician and she said, 'you need to go to Kosair'."

At Kosair, Brent learned Jake had been the victim of child abuse.

"When we got to Kosair, he had a broken and arm and leg and also had a broken bone in his leg that was healing, so it was devastating," she explained.

Police eventually arrested and charged a local babysitter, Tammy Hedges, but by then the damage was done, and the Brents soon learned they were not alone.

"Nationally, four to seven children die everyday in this country from child abuse and neglect," said Metro Police Chief Steve Conrad.

Wednesday morning, dozens of people gathered at the foot of The Big Four Bridge for a rally to end child abuse. Chief Conrad has seen a lot, and says child abuse comes in many forms. "It can be physical, it can be sexual, it can be emotional," he said.

Experts say in 2013, there were 18,000 child abuse cases in Kentucky.

"That's really frankly only the tip of the iceberg because we know that not all cases of child maltreatment are reported to the authorities," said Dr. Melissa Currie, with Kosair Charities.

Dr. Currie has treated thousands of victims -- including Jake.

"Jake was one of our patients back when he was a baby, um, and yes, he had multiple bones broken by a babysitter," she said.

That's why the Brent family joined the pinwheel campaign and face it movement; both bring awareness child abuse.

"You have got to spread the word, you have got to face it, it's real. It happened to us, it can happen to anybody," said Brent.

Experts say some of the signs of child abuse include unexplained injuries and a change in behavior.

If you need to report a case, you can call the child abuse hotline at 877-KY-SAFE-1 or simply call 911.

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