WASHINGTON, D.C. (July 6, 2021) — During the pandemic, millions of vulnerable children were forced to remain home with unsafe caretakers due to school closings and quarantine restrictions, and experts are predicting a sharp increase in child abuse reports when school returns this fall. Child advocacy organization, For The Children, with their network of over 20,000 vetted and trained volunteers, is calling on everyday concerned citizens to watch for signs of abuse and neglect, and speak out.
“If before COVID-19,five children died a day on average from child abuse, then there is no doubt this already-staggering number increased during the pandemic,” says Paul Martin, CEO of For The Children.
During , when children spent less time around authoritative figures outside the home, reports of child abuse dropped dramatically according to The Washington Post. At the same time, USA TODAY reported that hospitals saw an increase in severe child abuse injuries, and half of the callers of the National Sexual Assault Hotline during the pandemic were minors.
“This is an epidemic after the pandemic, and we cannot delay in responding to it. The damage done to these innocent lives is immeasurable, and the ripple effect of this devastation on our society will take generations to repair,” said Martin.
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, children who experience family-induced abuse, neglect and trauma are statistically more likely to commit violent crimes, abuse drugs and become incarcerated and/or homeless.
For The Children implores concerned adults to keep a watchful eye as children emerge this summer and fall. While teachers, coaches, doctors and other authorities are trained in how to spot abuse, most everyday citizens are not, and so the organization has released a downloadable resource – ‘A Community’s Guide to Identifying Child Abuse’ – to equip responsible adults with the warning signs of emotional, physical and sexual abuse and neglect in children. The Guide also gives action steps to follow if someone suspects abuse is occurring.
Common signs of abuse include:
· Excessively withdrawn, fearful, or anxious about doing something wrong
· Frequent injuries or unexplained bruises, welts or cuts
· Clothes are ill-fitting, filthy or inappropriate for the weather
· Trouble walking or sitting
· And many others…
“Whether you’re an aunt, uncle, Sunday school teacher, grocery worker, neighbor – everyday community members can help save a child’s life by simply being informed, vigilant and aware of the warning signs,” says Martin. “We come into contact with children every day, and it is our hope that this guide will awaken the consciousness of Americans and the Christians among them.”
For The Children is activating its networks of volunteers everywhere to step in on behalf of vulnerable kids. With more than 250 chapters across 44 states, all rooted in the local church, the organization hopes to mobilize even more adults to engage around the issue of family-induced childhood trauma, providing summer camps and yearlong mentoring programs for at-risk kids, as well as foster care and adoption resources for adults.
To learn more about For The Children and to download their ‘Community Guide to Identifying Child Abuse’ visit ForTheChildren.org.
About For The Children
For more than 30 years, For The Children has been a trusted leader in the fight against family-induced childhood trauma. Their network of more than 20,000 vetted volunteers serves children that have been neglected, abused and abandoned through community advocacy, summer camps and year long mentoring programs. With more than 240 local chapters nationwide and a standard-setting church partnership model, For The Children is uniquely equipped to transform communities and eradicate family-induced childhood trauma in our time.