April 8, 2020. Jonesboro, AR. – While home is a safe place for many Arkansans seeking protection from the spread of COVID-19, it can be a dangerous place for children who are victims of abuse. Most child abuse experts agree that once the COVID-19 crisis passes, reported child abuse cases are likely to surge.
“During times of isolation, child abuse happens in secrecy because signs of abuse go undetected when children are not seen regularly by others,” said Elizabeth Pulley, director of Children’s Advocacy Centers of Arkansas. “When school starts back, we expect the number of cases to rise.”
April is Child Abuse Prevention Month, a time to place a special emphasis on increasing awareness and providing education and support to families to help prevent child abuse and neglect. Friday, April 24, is the day to wear blue in support of Child Abuse Prevention Month. Sunday, April 26, has been set aside as a National Day of Prayer to pray for child abuse victims.
“In a time such as this, we encourage adults to be especially attentive to children when they see them and look for tell-tale signs of abuse and neglect such as withdrawal, changes in behavior, depression or an apparent lack of supervision,” Pulley said.
The Northeast Arkansas Children’s Advocacy Center in Jonesboro, AR provides a safe place for children and families to receive services for healing. Even during the COVID-19 crisis, the center remains open and is continuing to serve children in person and through telemedicine.
“We provided services to 112 children before COVID-19 hit our community. Now that schools are out, we won’t find out about many child abuse and neglect issues until months after” said Amanda Frankenberger, director of the Northeast Arkansas Children’s Advocacy Center. “School is a safe place for many child abuse victims. The trauma from school being out, a changed daily schedule, a recent tornado, and child abuse/neglect at home, the children in our community are relying on us now more than ever to do our part in protecting them,” Frankenberger said.
To report suspected child abuse or neglect, call the Arkansas Child Abuse hotline at 1.844.SAVE.A.CHILD or 1.800.482.5964. Like the NEA Children’s Advocacy Center’s Facebook page to stay updated on ways you can recognize or prevent child abuse during these times. Visit the NEA Children’s Advocacy Center website at www.neacac.net.
About Children’s Advocacy Centers of Arkansas & the Northeast Arkansas Children’s Advocacy Center:
Children’s Advocacy Centers of Arkansas is a 501(c) 3 membership organization whose mission is to promote, assist, and support the development, growth, and continuation of children's advocacy centers (CAC) in the State of Arkansas so that every child victim has access to the services of a CAC.
The NEA Children’s Advocacy Center provide care and assistance to victims of child abuse and neglect and those who support them. We are the only place in the state that offers free, child-friendly services directly to children and families struggling with the effects of abusive situations.