COVID-19: Increased reports of child abuse for April

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The Childcare and Protection Agency (CPA) has recorded an increase in child abuse reports just for the month of April alone.

“…you know the children are at home, the parents are at home, and some of the parents are getting frustrated with the children,” CPA Director Ann Green told the News Room.

She explained that the reports will be analyzed by the end of the week to determine where the increase is most prominent.

“Countrywide people are calling, but as usual, more people live in Region Four, so most of the calls would be from Region Four,” she stated.

The Director said they have been responding to all reports across the country. It is compulsory for child care officers to wear protective gears when visiting homes.

Childcare Director Ann Greene

When there is a report, the agency goes out to investigate and then determine what assistance to provide to the family. The Director said they have had to provide families with groceries as well as psychological assistance during the country’s fight against COVID-19.

“Some parents might be in a really vulnerable situation that needs some groceries…we try to assist as much as we can,” the Director said.

Greene highlighted that these are difficult and unexpected times and as such, the Childcare and Protection Agency had to implement unorthodox strategies to assist families and keep children safe while under lockdown at home.

“We have had to remove children; we have had to take children in care and when we take them in care we put them under quarantine for 14 days before we mix them with the general population,” the Director said.

When it comes to reports of sexual abuse, it is necessary that the child or children are removed from the home until an investigation can be done.

Meanwhile, regarding previously reported cases, the Director said that they are following up with phone calls.

“We have not abandoned the families and the children, they still got to make call and they are still following up on the cases.”

The Childcare Director is urging that persons continue to look out for children especially during this time and assured that they will assist them.

“Call us on the hotline -227 0979- we can decide what is happening with the family, we are here, we are on the job so let them call the number whatever it is we will try to assist the family, child protection is essential services so we are not abandoning the children or families.”

As of October 2019, there were 3,752 reported child abuse cases, with 1,729 of those cases being child neglect and 890 cases of sexual abuse.

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