COVID-19 and Child Abuse
An increase in child abuse of all types is expected during the COVID-19 pandemic. However, there may not be a corresponding increase in incidents of reported child abuse until children return to school.
Already, data from jurisdictions around the country are revealing dramatic drops in the rate of child abuse reports—in some places, as large as 50 percent. Not only are many families stuck in small spaces, but financial stress and emotional stress are known risk factors for abuse, and these stressors have been exacerbated by the pandemic. Again though, we won’t be able to know the extent of abuse until more safe, responsible adults—like teachers and school counselors—are able to see their students again.
Safe Shores’ Response to COVID-19
As of March 16, 2020, all of our staff began teleworking, and our office space was closed to the public in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. While this presents many challenges, in just three weeks we have taken key steps to adapt our programs and services in order to stay connected with current clients provide services to them remotely:
- Our Clinical Services team is doing all patient-facing work using a tele-health platform.
- Our Family Advocacy team continues to provide intakes and crisis intervention support remotely by arranging distribution of clothing bags through our first responder partners and online shipping. We are also providing families with online gift cards for groceries and other essential items.
- We are receiving client and case referrals online.
- We’ve stayed connected with participants in our Caregiver Support Groups and will be holding their meetings online.
- We are acquiring technology and developing protocols with our dedicated MDT partners to conduct forensic interviews remotely (called tele-forensic interviews) while maintaining a safe, child-focused approach. The target launch date is April 10th.
Through unprecedented change, Safe Shores’ commitment to fulfilling our mission with excellence and compassion has not wavered. We are strategically adapting, finding new ways and employing different tools to provide intervention, hope and healing for children and families affected by abuse, trauma and violence in the District of Columbia, and to prevent child abuse through education and training.
Keep reading to learn how you can help us while observing stay-at-home orders!
#AskDCOAG on Twitter: Preventing Child Abuse
April 7, 2020 | 12:00pm – 1:00pm
The Office of the Attorney General for the District of Columbia has launched a series of Twitter chats for D.C. youth and families. This Tuesday, Safe Shores will take part in a panel discussion on recognizing and preventing child abuse. Be sure to follow @AGKarlRacine and @SafeShoresDC to join the conversation.
Stewards of Children® Online Training
April 22, 2020 | 10:00am – 12:00pm
April 27, 2020 | 3:00pm – 5:00pm
Join us live for an interactive opportunity to share, learn, and practice implementing strategies to protect children from child sexual abuse. These trainings will be led by an authorized facilitator.
Ways to Get Involved
Pinwheels for Prevention
April is Child Abuse Prevention Month. This year, we’re partnering with Prevent Child Abuse America to raise awareness and remind our community about the importance of cherishing childhood. Show your support by placing a pinwheel in your window and sharing it with us! We even created a pinwheel coloring sheet to help you get started.
Print Your Pinwheel
Stewards of Children® Training is Now Online
Are you interested in learning how you can help protect children from child sexual abuse? Have you struggled to attend one of our training sessions in the past? Our Stewards of Children® training is now available online.
Be Part of the Virtual Village!
All it takes is a caring heart and a bit of your time to be a part of the virtual village. To help parents and caregivers and #ProtectKids365, try some of these ideas. If you have some great ideas of your own, email firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject line “#BetheVirtualVillage Suggestion”.
Make a Donation
Safe Shores is facing unexpected costs as we move our programs and client services online. The COVID-19 pandemic has put more children at risk for experiencing abuse at home and with fewer opportunities for child abuse to be reported. Please consider making a donation to help us as we continue to provide essential support to child victims of abuse and their families.