SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (ABC4 Utah) – Utah has seen a string of disturbing child abuse cases in 2017, some which have led to the young victims dying. Experts are highlighting the importance of children getting treatment to avoid serious problems later in life.
Dr. Douglas Goldsmith is the Executive Director of The Children’s Center which specializes in treating young children who have experienced trauma or abuse.
The doctor notes cases with children aren’t easy to tackle because they often don’t know how to verbalize their feelings.
“It could take years to resolve the issues that are impacted by trauma like these children have experienced,” said Dr. Goldsmith.
The victims in a recent Amber Alert case in Iron County were all under the age of eight. Experts note no matter how young a victim is they still experience trauma.
“There are a lot of times we as adults comfort ourselves by saying “oh they’ll forget, they’re going to be fine,”” said Dr. Goldsmith. “The body never forgets, the body holds on to that trauma.”
Studies have shown untreated childhood trauma can lead to issues as adults including depression, drug abuse, and several others.
“Adults who were traumatized as very young children or had multiple traumas are not doing well for the most part as adults,” said Dr. Goldsmith.
Experts note while treatment can be harder with children, it does show success. Dr. Goldsmith said people shouldn’t take the belief children are doomed. He points to the case of Elizabeth Smart who was kidnapped and has lived a productive life since.
“She’s a great role model for trauma in showing what a very caring, loving family can do and what a supportive community can do,” said Dr. Goldsmith.
When looking for a provider, experts urge parents to ask the doctor if they have specialized training in trauma and use evidence-based treatment. The Children’s Center has trained doctors around the state who can help. You can call them at 801-582-5534 to find a doctor in your area.