Experts agree that as the health crisis continues, children sheltering in dangerous places, cut-off from their support network are at extreme risk for abuse and neglect. The decrease in abuse hotline calls recently is troubling. This decline in reports does not point to a decrease in abuse. It speaks to a lack of reporting from those who normally see children the most – teachers, mentors, counselors, and coaches.
Melissa Jonson-Reid, a professor of social work research at Washington University in St. Louis says, “When children are no longer visible to the vast majority of people who are trained and required to report, and then you see this kind of decline, we get super concerned,” according to a recent article from CNN.
As adults, we have a legal and moral obligation to stand up and speak out for children who are being abused. It is essential that responsible caretakers who remain virtually connected to children – whether it be in a Zoom® class, a counseling session, or even a Facetime® with the family – know how to recognize and report abuse.
Even from a distance, we can help. We can learn the signs and indicators of abuse and be those caring eyes. Please review the signs of abuse and neglect below. If you have reasonable suspicion of abuse, please click here to find the child abuse reporting line in your area and make the call.
- Unexplained or repeated injury.
- Verbal threats of harm.
- Degrading commentary (humiliation, rejection, questionable forms of punishment) from an adult caregiver directed toward the child.
- Child shows wariness when a parent/caregiver is present/approaches.
- Child attempts to hide an injury.
- Any disclosure of physical, sexual, or emotional abuse.
- Child appears malnourished.
- Inappropriate clothing for the season.
- Denied medical care/necessary medicine.
- Extremely dirty/unbathed.
- Lack of appropriate supervision for extended period.
- Parent/caregiver: seems indifferent, under the influence, lacks the means to provide for the child (i.e. mental capacity).