- Jul 17, 2017
- One mile west of Hancock
Did you know that for child abuse, schools are one of the biggest helpers in identifying and helping those in that situation?
I have a volunteer position that provides peripheral exposure to the problem of child abuse so I am sensitive to this. We don't think of child abuse as seasonal but it is. It takes place all the time but it often goes unreported until schools open in late August with live attendance. That's when teachers can spot students that are depressed, malnourished, injured or bruised. Hopefully it gets spotted and protection is provided. All that takes place after a normal summer. This won't be a normal summer. Kids quit going to school early this year. For a normal, functioning family sheltering in place can be difficult. You're stuck in the house together and everyone gets on each other's nerves. That's a normal family. Imagine a dysfunctional family with one or more abusers. Nerves fray and abuse escalates. Now imagine an abuser that used to be at work for much of the day but he or she is laid off from their job. That person has more time on their hands, more contact with a vulnerable child and a reason to be frustrated with an uncertain economic future. Many abusers also have issues with drugs or alcohol. The abuser may have moderated their consumption in order to function at work but if they're working from home or not working at all that becomes less of an obstacle. It can mean drinking or drugs in the home all day everyday.
So it isn't cut and dried as far as what we need to do to promote health and safety. There are costs to opening up and there are costs to staying sheltered. I'll also add that I've had enough exposure to education to know that this E-learning isn't working for a lot of kids, particularly younger and less economically advantaged kids. They don't all have access to the proper equipment or they may not have someone to help them use it.
But back to the main point. What we have with shelter-in-place is the "Perfect Storm" for child abuse. These victims often go unreported so they won't get the attn that Covid-19 victims get. Covid-19 flourishes among the old and the physically vulnerable. Child abuse flourishes among the young and physically vulnerable. Hospitals are open to help with this crisis, schools aren't.