Digital Original: Child abuse and neglect on the rise amid pandemic

Digital Originals

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – A local children’s advocacy group says they are seeing a rise in cases of abused or neglected children and are reminding people to take action. 

“We seen a pronounced increase in cases since COVID-19 hit,” says Jennifer Long, executive director for the Children’s Protection Center in Little Rock. 

Long says the increase in numbers doesn’t necessarily mean there is more abuse taking place, however, it does show that more people are being vigilant and working together to take the appropriate action to help these children. 

“It’s important that people really embrace the fact that it is their responsibility to respond to child abuse and we all have different lanes for that,” explains Long. “So if you’re in the community and you suspect that child abuse is happening it’s really important that you call the child abuse hotline.”  

For nearly a decade, Long has been a champion for these children. She hopes to remind the public that they too have a role in helping our most vulnerable community.

“So when we’re able to stop abuse and then respond appropriately to it — I think that that makes a huge difference in the way the child grows and functions later on as an adult,” Long explains. 

The non-profit group works with law enforcement and state agencies to help get children the support and service they require during these traumatic events.

The center acts as a “one-stop” resource for the children. The staff collaborates with other agencies by providing them with forensic interviews, services needed for the child, and therapy options. 

She says by keeping everyone informed it potentially helps prevent re-traumatizing the child. 

Overall, she says they aim to help these children reestablish trust and confidence in those who are put in place to care for them.

“I think what we would call success is really that a child heals from abuse. We want to stop abuse, but we want a child to heal from it,” she says. 

If you suspect abuse, please call the Child Abuse Hotline: 1-844-SAVEACHILD.  

For more information, including warning signs and steps to take if you witness child abuse or neglect, click HERE

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