It’s a most unpleasant subject, yet one society must confront if innocent little lives are to be protected from harm, even saved from death. We speak of the despicable crime of child abuse.
As detailed in a series of reports in the Deseret Morning News and on the Eyewitness News, at least 36 children age six or under in Utah have been killed as a result of physical abuse or neglect since 1999. Alarmingly, juries rarely convict in these cases, and those who are convicted often receive relatively light sentences. According to experts, “People are getting away with killing children.” And while the very idea of adults fatally harming children makes many in the community extremely uncomfortable, it is an escalating tragedy that must not be ignored.
Besides increased public awareness, KSL believes law enforcement and the legal community must be better trained to deal with the complexities of these unnerving cases. Rural prosecutors, especially, could benefit from the establishment of some type of central clearing house for information and advice.
Meantime, lawmakers caught up in the emotional issue of parental rights, should not rush to dilute existing policies and procedures. No, child abuse, especially when it becomes deadly, is not a pleasant topic. But, it is happening, and it demands the community’s most urgent attention.