It’s as critical as ever that we watch over the children around us. What you can do to protect them when something seems wrong.
By Kristie Sickel
Program Supervisor/Child Forensic Interviewer
Willow Tree Cornerstone Child Advocacy Center
In times of instability and stress it is not uncommon for rates of child abuse to increase. The COVID-19 pandemic is undoubtedly one of those times. We know that some children are not safer at home. But while the rate of child abuse is likely going up, reports of child abuse have gone down.
Children are no longer in the places where adults had previously looked out for their safety and well-being. This includes schools, childcare facilities, after-school programs, and other public places. In many cases, children are even isolated from their extended family members. This lack of interaction means children have fewer people watching over them and fewer opportunities to tell if someone is hurting them.
It is important to remember during this time that we all have a responsibility to protect children. If you know a family that is under extreme stress, you can help by doing small things to ease some of the burden they are feeling. Small acts of support in the form of food, toilet paper, children’s activities or an empathetic ear can make a world of difference to ease their stress.
If you have a concern or if something does not feel or look right, make a report to your local child welfare agency. Making a report is asking for help and services from a professional who can further assess the situation. Remember to trust your gut and never assume that someone else will make the call for help.
For more information about abuse or to make a report your area, please visit https://dcf.wisconsin.gov/reportabuse.