New Partnership Aims to End Child Abuse

Updated: 12/05/2012 10:34 PM By: Nick Winkler

National Child Protection Training Center (NCPTC) may soon be a model replicated nationwide.

NCPTC is now partnering with Gundersen Lutheran Health System to equip doctors and health professionals with the skills necessary to spot and stop child abuse. Besides teaching doctors techniques pioneered by Victor Vieth, Executive Director at NCPTC, doctors will also be trained to spot often overlooked signs of abuse like obesity.

While there are a myriad of reason for childhood obesity, research indicates there's a correlation between obesity and child abuse. Research suggests abused children overeat to cope and often smoke, drink, and engage in other activities that lead to chronic disease that routinely cause them to die 20-years sooner than children not abused.

Doctors at Gundersen will now take the time to ask this simple question, "Is someone hurting you?"

They'll also be trained to identify abnormal bruising patterns and how to empower children to talk about their experiences.

At the same time, Minnesota's congressional delegation introduced legislation which calls on the U.S. Attorney General to establish four regional child protection training facilities. The facilities would be based on the model established by Vieth and his team at NCPTC at Winona State, which trains police, social workers, and prosecutors how best to spot and stop child abuse.

The legislation also calls on the Attorney General to affiliate the regional training centers with colleges, universities, and community colleges that can then implement the child abuse curricula developed by NCPTC and now in use at colleges, medical schools, and law schools nationwide.