Child Sex Abuse Reports Spike As Country Shelters in Place,
COVID-19 has been, and continues to be, especially devastating for children who are victims of abuse. Scott Berkawitz, the president of RAINN (Rape, Abuse, and Incest National Network) said, “Last month, for the first time ever, a majority of RAINN’s sexual abuse hotline users were minors.” Of the minors who called the hotline, 67% identified their attacker as a family member. Nearly 80% of those minors lived with their abusive family member. Due to the current pandemic, it is more difficult for children to receive the help they need. Children have to figure out how to advocate for themselves right now, without their normal support system of adults. If a child manages to call an organization like RAINN, options are severely limited. Now, the best option is a video call, which leads to other challenging issues, especially when the child lives with the abuser. And if a home is found to be unsafe for a child, it is nearly impossible to find a place for the child to go.
Child protection services differ widely from state-to-state which makes these cases even more challenging. The main way for these children to receive the help they need is for child protection services and resources to be included in the next CARES (Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security) Act. Unfortunately, this will not happen for at least a month, and there is a strong possibility it will not happen at all.