As cases of COVID-19 continue to rise, it is clear that we are in the throes of a modern-day pandemic. But as we focus our community efforts on stopping the pandemic, it’s essential to recognize the epidemic that has long plagued the children.
With schools closed, children find their worlds suddenly much smaller than it was, and their usual protectors may be out of reach.
The schools are the fourth most common source of child abuse reports, behind law enforcement, child welfare workers and relatives. Together, those four sources make up 60% of all reported cases.
What we see now is that abuse might have been stopped before the pandemic, but it has now the opportunity to go undetected, unreported and unprosecuted.
Our conclusion is “Isolation and the stress of children being home all the time could increase the risk for child maltreatment, and children being out of school naturally reduces the number of eyes watching over them.” It is therefore crucial that we are asking the community to check-in with those around them to offer help. If we all watch out for each other, we can protect our neighbours.”
There are additional resources on our website, www.carecenter-okc.org to help parents, caregivers and essential workers identify and report suspected abuse.
April is Child Abuse Prevention Month, and while we are all hyper-aware of this virus in our midst, we must be ever vigilant in putting an end to child abuse. This scourge existed before COVID-19, and it will be here long after coronavirus is eradicated. The question is, what are we going to do about it?