A new report shows that while physical and sexual abuse of children has gone down over the past 20 years, reports of child neglect have increased.
Experts said it's unclear why either trend is happening. They suspect it's because of increased awareness about the topic. Some authorities are calling for more federal research to understand the trend.
They also want to add a database to track child abuse statistics. The report also showed about 80% of people behind these crimes are parents. Experts said while cases of neglect may not be as obvious as other forms of child abuse, it's still just as harmful.
Lieutenant Mark Davis of the Upshur County Sheriff's Department said, "Neglect is a bad thing when it comes to children, or adults as well, but listen, when you're talking about kids not being taken care of, not being fed, not being properly cared for, those are very serious concerns to me."
Two years ago, more than 1,500 children, mostly under the age of four, died due to abuse or neglect.