Senator Lucio's Letterhead

PRESS RELEASE FROM SEN. EDDIE LUCIO, JR.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 16, 2010
CONTACT: Doris Sanchez, Communications Director
Phone: 512-463-0385

Senator Lucio Holds Press Conference On Child Abuse Prevention

AUSTIN, TX—Today during a press conference at his Senate District 27 office in Brownsville as part of Child Abuse Prevention Month, Sen. Eddie Lucio Jr. was joined by members of local advocacy groups to raise awareness of child abuse prevention and reporting.

"The late Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. once said that our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter," said Sen. Lucio.

Last year, 280 Texas children died because of abuse or neglect by their parents or guardians, and 68,326 children were confirmed victims of abuse or neglect. From 2000 to 2009, the Texas child population increased by 15 percent but confirmed cases of child abuse and neglect increased by 46 percent. In Cameron County for the same period, the child population increased by 18 percent and confirmed cases of child abuse and neglect rose by 51 percent.

Sen. Lucio also reported that according to the Department of Justice, one in every three girls and one in every six boys are sexually abused before the age of 18, and on any given day, there were more than 17,000 Texas children and teenagers in foster care.

"The information is shocking! These are not just numbers, but reflect real children, real lives and something must be done!" exclaimed the Senator, who then added. "I stand here before you today to let you know that I will be working alongside the Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS), local governments and community groups across Texas in a call to action against child abuse."

The Senator then read from President Obama's proclamation stating that Child Abuse Prevention Month is a time, "we renew our unwavering commitment to protecting children and responding to child abuse, promoting healthy families, and building a brighter future for all Americans."

Other statistics offered by Sen. Lucio indicated that more than 3.3 million American children witness physical and verbal domestic abuse each year, and they are 15 times more likely to be maltreated than in homes without domestic violence. In 60 to 75 percent of the families in which a woman is battered or abused, children are also battered or abused. Domestic violence is the major precursor to children dying from abuse and neglect.

During the 81st Legislative Session, Sen. Lucio worked with his Senate colleagues supporting passage of Senate Bill 2080, which established a task force specifically geared toward the reduction of child abuse, neglect and improving child welfare in this great state. In 2005, he passed SB 316 to help prevent Shaken Baby Syndrome cases by educating parents and raising awareness about effects that SBS can have on children.

"Child abuse is not an isolated problem. It affects EVERYONE, and it is only through each of us that child abuse can be prevented. Get involved and remember—the more you help, the less a child hurts," added Sen. Lucio.

Note: To report abuse, people can call the Abuse Hotline toll-free 24 hours a day, seven days a week: 1-800-252-5400.

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