COVID 19 CHILD ABUSE - WHO’S ADVOCATIONG FOR THE KIDS NOW
My daughter has a friend who is on the police department. He said that domestic violence and crime is up since the quarantine. He said that people are not taking it serious. My immediate thoughts were if domestic violence is up the child abuse cases is up also. So, I had to research it.
The Childhelp National Child Abuse Hotline is reporting a 20% increase in calls and more than four times the number of texts compared to the same time last year. This report didn’t surprise me. Lets look at the new possibilities of a child being abused at this time.
Kids are not in school
For some kids school is just another place they go and hang out with their friends and do some school work. Its something they do and they look forward to coming home to mom, dad or both. A good meal and tv time with the family. But, for some kids school is an escape. It is an escape from being malnutrition. It is an escape from having to play caretaker of younger siblings. School can be an escape from yelling, screaming, erratic behaviors and physical abuse. That is not the case now.
Now there is no teacher, administrator, cafeteria person to look out for the best interest in a child. There is no one to notice I’m in the same clothes or that I so tired I can’t concentrate. Who is going to help me get finished with my homework so I don’t get in trouble before I have to help my siblings with their work. No one is there because it is now all behind closed doors.
Social distancing from a community network
Kids are also not around other family members. Auntie Janet is not around to check on your progress in class. Uncle Rob is not there to ask about your sport interest and grandma May is not available to drop by to check on the grandchildren. these are added factors that aid in the concealment of child abuse.
Who is worried about the kids that are being in a unsafe zone? According to my research medical professionals are concerned. Child nonprofit groups like childhelp are concerned. The Illinois department of Children and Family Services reported a 45% drop in calls to its child abuse hotline from the first to the third week in March. They contribute this to the lack of exposure of the abuse outside of the home.
How are the kids feeling about this new normal? I am sure they are scared, worried and concerned about their future and worried about their safety. We don’t know, because we have yet to have a plan in place where we can check on the kids.
Our children are young ones who are not able to advocate for themselves. Often, they are the forgotten victims of abuse. We as adults must do all they can to protect them. In the meantime, children’s advocates are asking neighbors and friends to be extra watchful and to report suspected child abuse or neglect in an effort to provide some type of safety net for the kids.
Contact the national Childhelp hotline at 1-800-4-A-Child. Callers can remain anonymous. Crisis counselors are available 24 hours a day and can communicate via translators in over 170 languages. You can also text 1-800-422-4453.