Child abuse cases expected to rise during COVID-19 pandemic

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MOBILE, Ala. (WKRG) — Experts say we all need to be on the lookout for signs of child abuse during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The kids aren’t in school,” said Andy Wynne, Executive Director of The Child Advocacy Center in Mobile. “The teachers are some of our primary reporters of abuse before it goes too far. So obviously, kids aren’t in school, there’s being isolated. Secondly, what you led with, the amount of stress that families are under from economic stress to the fear of being ill to being isolated. Kids are stressed, parents are stressed. So, it could kind of a bad mixture with that and the third is for the sexual abuse issues. When kids are more isolated, that’s when they tend to be more in danger”

He offered some advice to families urged to stay at home to limit the spread of the virus.

Blue pinwheels in front of Child Advocacy Center symbolize victims during April, Child Abuse Awareness Month

“Even though we do have to keep our distance, we don’t need to be isolating,” he said. “You know you need to reach out for help. You need to start understanding the signs that when your kids are grumpy when they are stressed and you get stressed – it’s a volatile mixture. So, you can go on the internet and get lots of self-help for those kinds of things. The United Way 2-1-1 is a good resource to call for a whole host of other ways of being able to cope during this. Reach out to family and friends. I also think one of the things that’s incredibly important is for us to be watching out for our neighbors, as well, and if we see something, report it.”

One of billboards in Mobile to reflect on April, Child Abuse Awareness Month

The Child Advocacy Center continues to operate during the pandemic, as do police and government agencies.

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