The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted the lives of Americans—including children in unfortunate living situations. There has been a significant increase in child abuse in Lubbock, TX and beyond.
For some children, going to school is a welcome respite from familial tensions and unhappy living situations. Now that school has been moved to home or canceled altogether, many children are suffering from being cooped up with their abusers (or left alone while their caregivers go to work) for weeks and potentially months at a time.
How staying at home harms victims of child abuse
Even if there are fewer reports of child abuse in Lubbock, TX, that doesn’t mean the abuse has stopped. Many children are unable to advocate for themselves, or even realize that their situation is not normal. That’s why teachers, principals, school nurses and other people in positions of authority are considered mandated reporters—they’re neutral third parties who can speak to the best interests of the child, and ensure that an eye is kept on their students or charges.
Thanks to the insidious nature of abuse and the child’s relative inexperience, it can often be very difficult for children to articulate what’s happening at home, especially if they’re not in contact with the outside world on a regular basis.
As the pandemic stresses parents out—unemployment has skyrocketed, and many parents are now dealing with working full-time from home with no available childcare to ease the burden—we may continue to see a surge in cases. Similar findings were reported during the 2008 recession.
In one Fort Worth hospital, doctors have seen a significant spike in suspected child abuse cases—as much as they would like to believe it is coincidental, the timing is a red flag.
What to do if you suspect that a child is being abused
If you’re a parent, relative, teacher, friend or other person who has reason to suspect a minor child is being abused—or that abusive conditions have worsened due to the coronavirus pandemic—there are a few things you can do to help.
First, the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services has a robust range of resources available for both caregivers and those who suspect a child may be suffering from abuse. This includes advice for parents who feel overwhelmed during the pandemic, caregivers and early intervention professionals. They also list drop-off places for both children and adults, should a parent feel like they may be on the verge of harming their child.
The state has also created a COVID-19 mental health support hotline, and if you call 211 and choose option 6, the state will offer you resources and information about community support, including housing, food, utilities and other important topics.
While speaking up on behalf of a child can be a veritable landmine, it’s better to be safe than sorry—especially in a situation in which an increase in child abuse in Lubbock, TX leaves so many children more vulnerable than ever.
The Law Office of Rob Biggers remains operational during COVID-19. If you have questions or want to schedule a consultation, call us today.
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Categorised in: Divorce