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Child Abuse and Neglect
In 2019, Lubbock County had 1,217 confirmed cases of child abuse or neglect with 5 victims losing their lives which is a significant increase compared to the average of 1-2 deaths seen over previous years.
Of the 612 children served by CASA of the South Plains in 2019, 68% received ongoing counseling. 22% received trauma therapy and 27% were prescribed psychotropic medication.
Children who are victims or witnesses of a crime are assessed by Children’s Advocacy Center of the South Plains. Through their forensic interviews, community education and outreach programs, and evidence-based trauma therapy, they were able to serve 5,976 children on the South Plains in 2019.
Prevention is the key to stopping child abuse and neglect before it occurs. The Parenting Cottage utilizes parenting education aimed at increase school readiness, decreasing the achievement gap among poverty and non-poverty households, and preventing child abuse and neglect. In 2019, they provided services to 420 individuals and families through their Parents as Teachers program.
Sex and Labor Trafficking
Voice of Hope continues to spearhead efforts to address the issues of child and adult sex trafficking in Lubbock and the West Texas Region. Through their sexual assault intervention and prevention programs, hotline call management, and community education programs, they were able to assist 10,266 individuals in 2019.
Traffickers target locations youth frequent such as social media sites, schools, malls, parks, bus stops, shelters, and group homes. Runaway or homeless youth, as well as those with a history of physical and sexual abuse, may have an increased risk of being trafficked. (Shared Hope International) It is important to note victims are typically not kidnapped and taken into sex trafficking as portrayed across entertainment and social media channels. Instead, traffickers use the process of grooming their potential victims to build trust, provide for needs, isolate the victim, and essentially force them into trafficking. Often the trafficker is a family member or another individuals with legitimate access to the victim.
The National Human Trafficking Hotline has handled 51,919 cases since 2007. Of the 23,078 survivors identified in 2018, their records give insight into the systems and tactics that traffickers use to conduct their businesses. As demonstrated here, traffickers frequently prey on an individual’s vulnerabilities, and the data spotlights risk factors and recruitment tactics to recruit and keep them in a trafficking situation. (Polaris Project)
As referenced in the Indicators on page 3, Lubbock County had more than double the rate of Family Violence (1,496 per 100,000 population) compared to the state average (690 per 100,000 population) in 2018.
Family Violence is defined as an act by a member of a family or household against another member that is intended to result in physical harm, bodily injury, assault, or a threat that reasonably places the member in fear of imminent physical harm. The reasonable discipline of a child is excluded from consideration as family violence. (Texas Family Code)
The Legal Aid Society of Lubbock’s Family Legal Services program exists to assist disadvantaged families with their legal needs. Of the 1,391 cases they assisted with in 2019, over 70% involved victims of domestic or sexual violence. Through their partnership with Women’s Protective Services of Lubbock (WPS), they are able to send an attorney to the shelter twice a week. Beyond this partnership, WPS was able to assist 11,126 individuals through their residential and non-residential programs and their community outreach and education.
Lubbock County had a higher rate of alcohol-impaired driving deaths (35% of driving deaths) than Texas (28%) or the United States (11%) (Meadows) For deaths in 2018, 80% were age 40 or under. (TxDoT)
In addition, in 2019, 412 motorcyclists were killed in Texas, and more than 1,800 were seriously injured. The number of motorcycle traffic crashes in the Lubbock area totaled 127 which resulted in 10 deaths and 21 seriously injured. (KCBD)
Crime in Lubbock County
Ongoing analysis from the Texas Department of Public Safety measures crime statistics year over year. In 2018, the rates of murder, rape, robbery, family violence, and child abuse and neglect were all up in Lubbock County. Meanwhile, rates of aggravated assault, burglary, theft, and auto theft were all down.
Compared to Texas rates, the Lubbock County rates are higher in every single area except for murder which has the same rate as the state. (FBI and TXDPS)
Life After Disaster
In the event of a fire or other disaster, American Red Cross steps in to cover basic needs. They ensure each family has a safe place to stay, food to eat, clothes to wear, eyeglasses, medications, and other basic essentials.They are able to immediately intervene to move families onto the path of recovery. In 2019, they assisted 241 individuals after a crisis.