The Dangers of Undetected Child Abuse - WXOW News 19 La Crosse, WI – News, Weather and Sports |

The Dangers of Undetected Child Abuse

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WINONA, Minnesota (WXOW) – Gundersen Lutheran Health System has announced a new partnership with the National Child Protection Training Center.

The latter is an organization which seeks to educate social workers, teachers, pastors and others who deal with children on a daily basis, how to spot the signs of child abuse.

The NCPTC currently operates a training facility in Winona, in conjunction with Winona State University – in which participants can walk through a mock crime scene laid out as it would be in an abusive home.

"It's pretty uncomfortable to talk about child sexual abuse," said Victor Vieth, the NCPTC's Executive Director. "When we're forced to think about we tend to tinker with the margins. We talk about tightening up the mandatory reporting laws, or implementing tougher penalties, as opposed to looking at the underlying causes."

"The underlying causes are that most people don't know how to recognize abuse," Vieth said.

Vieth added the partnership with Gundersen Lutheran will now allow his organization to better train health workers.

"Almost every child will interact with medical professionals," he said. "They will go to doctors and nurses and others."

"Gundersen Lutheran is interested in the health and well being of the whole population," said its CEO, Dr. Jeff Thompson.  "We believe to get that done we're going to have to leave the walls of the institution and partner with great organizations like the NCPTC and Winona State."

Vieth said prevention and early detection of child abuse can also stop medical bills from piling up down the road.

It can be linked to alcoholism, obesity, smoking, depression and other health problems developed later in life.   

"On average, a child with six or more adverse childhood experiences will die 20 years younger than a child who has never known the fearsome side of life," he said.

Thompson said a curriculum for the program between Gundersen Lutheran and the NCPTC is scheduled to be completed within the first quarter of 2013.

The hope is it will educate medical professionals in Western Wisconsin before being implemented across the country.  

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