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Child Abuse Is Going Unnoticed During The Pandemic

BY: Sakib Tariq

A Toronto Police officer was charged in Halton for sexually assaulting a child. The 53-year-old officer was off duty and knew the victim. In Changnyeong, a 9-year-old girl was found by her neighbour with bruises around her eyes and body. The girl had been abused by her mother and stepfather. A teenager had been found living alone after his mother passed away from coronavirus.

 Overall, Child abuse cases have taken a dip since the beginning of the pandemic. The city of New York has received 51 percent less child abuse complaints in comparison to last year. The same pattern is seen across the globe. South Korea has seen 500 less reported cases than in 2019. The decline in reported cases may not mean that child abuse is on the decline. Authorities are worried that abuse is going unnoticed behind closed doors. 

In a 2006 study, researchers found that almost half of the 269 people that were surveyed had witnessed child abuse in public. Bystander reporting is a common way for officials to notice child abuse. Since visits from friends and family have been quite sparse recently, the opportunities for friends and family to notice neglect in homes are sparse as well. A 14-year-old in the state of New York was denied the chance to see his biological parents during visitation periods because the state was shut down because of health and safety concerns. Teachers are known to be the most likely to notice abuse and report it. They keep a lookout for injuries, signs of hunger, and other indications of mistreatment at home. Unfortunately, teachers have not seen their students in months and virtual classrooms do not allow them to detect red flags.  

The pandemic has upended life for people across every continent. Everyone is staying safe in the comfort of their homes. However, for some children home is the least safe place to be. As services and businesses start to reopen more people will be out of their homes, so it is plausible for reports to be on the rise again. 

*All arguments made and viewpoints expressed within Youth In Politics and its nominal entities do not necessarily reflect the views of the writers or the organization as a whole.


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