CHATTANOOGA, Tennessee(WDEF) - April is National child Abuse Prevention month but Chattanooga police say that did nothing to stop a woman from physically assaulting her five-year old in front of witnesses.
Nora Sjoberge, 44, of Chattanooga is facing a charge of child abuse and neglect along with other criminal charges after police say she not only slapped her five year old son in the face, but also dragged him along a sidewalk. Child advocates at the Children's Advocacy Center of Hamilton County say this type of alleged abuse is very common.
"We do certainly see quite a bit of it. Last year there was 63 kids that came through who were victims of severe physical abuse and that certainly does from time to time involve drugs or alcohol," said Advocacy Center Executive Director Shelley McGraw.
In this case, the alleged abuse didn't involve drugs but police say it definitely involved alcohol. Sjoberge's husband reportedly told police his wife had been drinking alcohol all day and was intoxicated when she allegedly assaulted their child at the families home.
"Drugs and alcohol are conduits to all kinds of problems in our society and certainly miss treatment of children can be one of those," McGraw said.
According to the arrest affidavit, officers reportedly found scratches and bruises to the left side of the child's face along with scrapes and swelling to his knee. Experts say it's unclear what kind of short and long term affect this kind of alleged abuse can have on a child.
"Sometimes something that may seem relatively minor to lot of us could have a very traumatizing affect on a child. Other things that may seem extremely traumatizing to adults may not be as traumatizing as one might think to a child. It depends on their age and stage of development," McGraw said