Child Abuse Reports Drop; Reality is Likely Opposite
Every year, April is “Child Abuse Prevention Month,” and it is especially important that – as last month ends – we keep child abuse prevention at top of mind now and throughout the COVID-19 crisis.
As the Oklahoma Institute for Child Advocacy has monitored reporting of incidents of child abuse, we have noticed that the numbers have dropped significantly during the shelter-in-place orders. On its face, this looks like it might be a good thing; the reality is much more concerning.
Many child abuse reports come from people outside the home – teachers, caregivers, and health care professionals to name a few – who notice something amiss with a child. They see things like bruises, lacerations, or changes in behavior and report those changes to the proper authorities. During the shelter-in-place orders, these individuals outside the home have not seen the children, meaning that the indicators of abuse go unreported.
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