ILLINOIS (WTVO) — With schools being suspended due to COVID-19 the way families function daily have changed throughout the Stateline.
For some children, home is not their safe place.
“Coming out of COVID-19 we may see an increase of child abuse cases,” said Winnebago County CASA Program Director, Jillisa Bondurant. “By being home, if they are already in an at-risk situation, there’s less eyes on them, there’s less people able to notice those little things about the child to prompt a hotline call.”
Many times teachers are able to spot clues that show a child may be in an abusive situation.
“For Winnebago County our largest areas of hotline calls have always been first responders and teachers,” Bondurant said. “Without that everyday routine of a child those are missed touch points that they’re having with adults who care.”
Peggy Tell is a kindergarten teacher in the Freeport School District. She wants parents to realize they’re going to feel overwhelmed.
“Right now love your children make them feel safe, let them know that you’re not upset with them over what’s going on because right now parents are trying to do it all and that’s overwhelming,” Tell said.
Vice President of Domestic Violence services at Remedies Renewing Lives, Becky Winstead, said there are ways you can help prevent abuse.
“If you hear crying, you hear screaming, you see marks or injuries that maybe don’t seem to match, yes, that could be a time to reach out to DCFS or to any agency working with children and providing safety to children,” Winstead said.
Bondurant also recommended going online to become a mandated reporter of child abuse in Illinois.
“We’re all at home this is something very easy that people can go ahead and do,” she said.
“The biggest thing that parents need to realize during this time is they don’t have to do it all,” Tell said.
Abuse Hotline: 800-25-ABUSE .
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