The coronavirus has brought about many negative effects. People are getting sick and dying. Many are losing jobs. Children are having to learn from home without adequate resources.
One positive thing about this outbreak is that child abuse and sexual assaults reports have declined dramatically since Maryland residents were forced to shelter in place starting in mid-March. Surrounding areas such as Virginia and Washington, D.C. are also seeing huge decreases. But are the statistics telling the whole story?
By April 23, 2020, child protective workers for Montgomery County launched 38 investigations for child neglect or abuse. In April 2019, that number was 244. This April, 375 calls came into the hotline, compared with 1,139 for April 2019. That’s great news, right? Not necessarily.
Workers are concerned about what they aren’t seeing. More than likely, children are still being hurt. The problem is that these children are stuck at home, so their injuries aren’t being seen by teachers, coaches, counselors, daycare workers, neighbors, parents of friends and other adults. Many of these are mandated reporters who always have their eyes on children, looking for signs of abuse.
Teachers are especially helpful in identifying potential abuse. They are most likely to make child abuse reports, with 20% of reports made by teachers. This is because teachers see the children for six or more hours per day. They get to know their students well and can easily spot physical issues, such as bruises, or sudden change in emotions, such as unexplained anger outbursts to moodiness. Because of this, schools can be a safe haven for abused children.
Child abuse is expected to rise during the pandemic as stressed adults who are struggling with parenting and financial issues lash out on their children in frustration. These child victims are more vulnerable because they are around their abusers 24/7. These children may not know what they do. If they are older children, they may be scared to call for help with the abusers in their home. This has law enforcement officials concerned about these children’s safety and welfare.
Teachers and medical professionals are encouraged to look for signs of abuse when meeting with children through video meetings. However, the ability to observe these signs will be far from typical. But as Maryland opens back up, children will be out of the house more and hopefully signs of abuse will be detected. As such, it is expected that child abuse reports will increase in the near future.
Parenting can be a frustrating job, but a parent should never cause physical or emotional harm to their child. There are many ways to deal with stress without harming someone or committing a crime.
If you are facing charges of assault or child sex abuse, get legal help right away. The Columbia criminal lawyers at the Law Offices of Todd K. Mohink, P.A. He will aggressively fight for your legal rights. Get started today with a free consultation. Fill out the online form or call our office at (410) 774-5987.
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