Summer a dangerous time for child abuse



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Posted on July 15, 2013 at 10:44 PM

Updated Tuesday, Jul 16 at 2:01 PM

AUSTIN -- An arrest warrant issued for 24-year-old Austin mother Brittany Sadi Smith describes a history of abuse against four of Smith’s children.

The case is part of a bigger issue of abuse in Travis County, specifically during the summer, according to the Department of Family and Protective Services.

Smith’s children told teachers at Palm Elementary School in Southeast Austin that “she hit them with belts, a hanger and a shoe."

According to the arrest warrant, school authorities contacted Austin police, who began investigating.

“School personnel are the number one reporters for child abuse in the state of Texas,” said Julie Moody with the Department of Family and Protective Services.

Moody says teachers are often the first ones to notice something wrong, so in the summer “they're not in school and that means there's not an extra set of eyes or ears seeing children."

In potentially abusive homes, Moody also points out that summertime schedules can be a trigger.

“If they have a 1-year-old, a 4-year-old, a 6-year-old and an 8-year-old all at home at the same time, all day long, that can get very stressful," Moody said.

There were 3,045 cases of reported child abuse in Travis County last year and two of those were deadly.

Moody hopes that by spreading awareness during these crucial summer months, no more children will be added to that list.