JACKSON COUNTY, IL (KFVS) - A very disturbing trend is starting to show up in Southern Illinois, and it involves the number of cases of child abuse and neglect.
According to the Voices for Illinois Children Kids Count three counties in Southern Illinois had an increase over a two year period from 2009 to 2011.
Jackson County reported 50 percent more child abuse cases during the two year period, compared to the previous ten years.
The Executive Director at the Perry-Jackson County Child Advocacy Center Betti Mucha, says there are a number of reasons for the increase in cases.
"I think it has to do with kids talking more now. So when we're out in the schools we're telling them this is appropriate and this is not appropriate," said Betti Mucha. "Now they know what is wrong and right. And they're telling people, their school teachers, their pastors and their day care providers or whoever. Because they now know their body is their body."
And Mucha says there has been a change in attitude by judges and prosecutors when it comes to child abuse.
"Kids are being believed now over a perpetrator. Where as before I think the adults were always the ones who were believed over the kids. Now we're able to educate judges and prosecutors that kids don't lie about this, for the most part," said Mucha.
By bringing more awareness to child abuse, Mucha says they've also been able to put more people behind bars.
"The perpetrators will offend again. Most of the times the offender will offend more then once," Mucha said. "They don't just sit out and look for one child and say that's my victim. They have several victims."
According to the report Franklin County child abuse cases rose 1.3 percent over the two year period. And Williamson County's case rose by 13 percent.