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Utah has high rates of child abuse, sex abuse of children

Utah has high rates of child abuse, sex abuse of children

(KUTV) Utah has a child abuse problem.

At a conference about preventing child abuse, it was reported that Utah ranks eighth in child abuse and first in sex abuse rates of children.

Kit Sumner was sexually abused as a child and he said it has affected his whole life.

"It never really goes away," he said. "It comes out sooner or later."

"The abuse is not only terrible while it's going on, it's not only horrible in itself, but afterwards, it makes them susceptible to further victimization," said Utah's Attorney General Sean Reyes, who addressed the conference.

Numbers show Utah is eighth highest among all states in child abuse. The state had 6,900 cases in 2014. Of those, 27 percent were sex abuse, the highest rate of any state. Only 13 percent of the cases were neglect, one of the lowest rates among all states.

Carrie Jensen of Prevent Child Abuse said Utah has tougher laws than other states and may pursue child abuse more vigorously and that might help explain the high rates.

She wants to make sure help is more available for the victim and to pursue prosecution for the perpetrators.

But child abuse is difficult to count and victims are often unable to speak out or get help.

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