Child abuse reports are down in Indiana, but experts warn that's not a good thing

NOW: Child abuse reports are down in Indiana, but experts warn that’s not a good thing

GRANGER, Ind. --- There’s been a dramatic drop in child abuse reports since the start of the coronavirus pandemic but experts are warning that doesn’t mean fewer kids are in danger.

“Across the country, the reports that we’re seeing of child abuse are down significantly,” Christina McGovern said, with Prevent Child Abuse Indiana.

Prevent child abuse Indiana is reporting that calls to the state’s abuse hotline are down by 40 percent.

With places like schools and daycares shut down because of the coronavirus pandemic, the people who would normally report abuse are no longer spending time around children who may be experiencing it.

 “Teachers, school administrators, daycare staff, are not seeing the kids. And they’re usually the first ones who usually catch incidents and see that something it’s quite right.”

The numbers show that compared to this time last year, reports of child abuse are down by almost 50 percent in St Joseph County.

Statewide, the same is true. With only about 10,000 reports made in May of 2020, compared to more than 19,000 reports made in May of 2019.

This doesn’t mean child abuse is happening less often. It’s just getting reported less often. McGovern says the stress of the pandemic could actually make child abuse more likely.

“That’s what we’re nervous about. Because of isolation, when parents are isolated. If you’re a single parent and you’re isolated from your support system and you’re super stressed you might not have the resources or the education to know how to calm yourself down how to relieve that stress.”

So what can you do to help? Be more watchful and look for signs of child abuse. Whether that’s in the grocery store, at your place of work, or at the doctor’s office.

You can also tune in to U93 anytime from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. the week of June 22 to learn more about child abuse. The U93 Roofsit has raised nearly 3 million dollars for child abuse prevention programs since it began 24-years ago.

“The great thing about doing the roost event right now is we can remind everyone across our communities that it’s not just teachers and school administrators who are responsible for keeping an eye on children. It’s all of us. If you suspect that a child is being abused than you can call. That’s something all of us can do for sure.”

Because of the pandemic, onsite activities are canceled at this year’s Roofsit event. You can still be a part of a virtual trivia games hosted all week long and a donut drive-thru event this Friday.

You can also donate to Roofsit 2020 by calling 574-234-kids.

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