(WIAT) — Traditionally for children, Summer is the most anticipated time of the year. There is no school and it usually means vacations with friends and family, but for some children, it’s nothing but a silent Summer of abuse and neglect.

Over the past week, there have been case after case of incidents involving some sort of child abuse. A mother in Alabaster was charged with smoking marijuana near her children. In Tuscaloosa, a former Northport police officer and his son were accused of sexually abusing a child that went on for almost a decade.

The latest is a disturbing case in Cullman County where a mother and her boyfriend allegedly engaged in sexual acts with the mother’s own two children.

“In my 16 years in law enforcement this is probably one of the most brutal and graphic cases of child abuse that I have ever seen, it’s just pure evil,” said Cullman County Sheriff, Matt Gentry.

With the recent uptick in child abuse cases in the area, child care advocate Joan Wright said there could be a couple of reasons for it happening.

“It may be that simply because children are home more, they’re being expose to others in their life at a more frequent rate, than they had been at school time,” Wright said.

Wright is the executive director of Childcare Resources, and she believes that the uptick in cases making the news, in a way, could be seen as a positive sign.

“Because of so much news coverage around child abuse and neglect cases, more and more people are getting comfortable with coming forward and saying this isn’t right,” she said.

Two years ago, the state of Alabama imposed tougher mandatory child abuse and neglect reporting laws, requiring anyone who witnesses a sign of abuse to report it immediately.

“I think that has started to gain a little traction, a little awareness, so it may be encouraging people now to speak up on behalf of children,” Wright said.

To report any suspicion of child abuse and neglect, you can contact your local authorities.

Copyright 2015 WIAT 42 News