Child abuse reports down since start of pandemic, advocates warn - FOX34 Lubbock

Child abuse reports down since start of pandemic, advocates warn its still happening

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LUBBOCK COUNTY, Texas -

Last year, more than 1,200 children in our area were victims of abuse, according to Covenant Children's. This year, reports of abuse have declined due to the pandemic, but advocates say it is still happening.

"Since the kids were out March 13 for spring break and haven't been back, we didn't see a tremendous lack of reporting in March, but the following months, April, May and June, the reporting was down per month," Derek Danner, executive director of the Children's Advocacy Center, said.

The lack of reporting is a concern, he said, as many kids could be trapped at home with their abusers.

When schools start back up, Danner said he expects to see an increase in reports, since teachers and counselors file most reports.

"We saw an increase in July. Summer school was back in session in July in person, so we expect those numbers to go up," Danner said.

To remind everyone of the children who are suffering, Covenant Children's and its community partners put out pinwheels.

Belinda Waters, trauma program manager at Covenant Children's, said five children in Lubbock died last year from abuse. Our region ranks third in the state for child abuse.

"We don't see the outrage that you would think you would see with something like this. There were 235 deaths in the state of Texas in 2019 due to confirmed abuse. We don't have that many that die in motor vehicle crashes or bike crashes, and you'd think we'd have more of those type of things," Waters said.

She encourages everyone to look out for their children, grandchildren, neighbors' children, and nieces and nephews.

"If you have more than four bruises in a child, then that's going to be concerning, especially if it's to the head, the neck, ears, torso," Waters said. "If you can, maybe do videos to check on children. Then also ask them what have they had to eat today, are they eating normally."

Texas law requires everyone to report abuse if they suspect it. To report abuse or neglect to the Department of Family and Protective Services, click here.



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