April is National Child Abuse Prevention Awareness Month. This is even more important now during the COVID-19 pandemic, when traditional support systems for families are unavailable or altered. High-stress home environments can increase the likelihood of domestic violence and abuse that children either experience or observe. As children continue to spend more time at home, they may experience abuse.
For many kids, home is not a safe place, and those enduring abuse or neglect are possibly going unnoticed as schools are closed and we are all isolating from one another. According to childwelfare.gov, across the states, child abuse and neglect reports were down 50%. Part of that is due to the fact that the crucial part of reporting, the eyes and ears that usually recognize problems, are not with the children that are at risk.
We are asking everyone to play a part in keeping children healthy and safe. Please call and reach out to families you know to check in. Report suspected abuse, share crisis hotlines with families, and keep your eyes open. To report suspected abuse or neglect of a child or adult, call 1-855-503-SAFE (7233).
Please refer to these resources from Prevent Child Abuse America and share with families and friends: https://preventchildabuse.org/coronavirus-resources/
Call the Malheur County Health Department at 541-889-7279 to find out more about our family support programs, including nurse visiting done by phone during the COVID-19 crisis. We are here to help.
Watch the video at the top of this post with Prevent Child Abuse America’s national director delivering the important message that “Everyone – Yes, Even you – Can Make #GreatChildhoods Happen!”