Rise in Child Abuse due to Coronavirus?

The COVID-19 pandemic resulted in the shutting down of offices, restaurants, schools, stores and more.  When this happened, both Mental Health experts and Mandated Reporters alike began to speculate (and fear) that frustrated adults at home combined with children who are normally at school might be a recipe for disaster when it comes to abuse and maltreatment.  Think about it.  A lot of abuse is correlated to longer periods of interaction between the two groups.  This is why reports of abuse see a spike after weekends and vacations.  It is unfortunate, but some parents lose patience when they have to spend more time with their kids. 

The loss of a job is bad enough.  COVID didn’t just eliminate many jobs overnight It also created widespread panic.  People were afraid of contracting a deadly virus, they couldn’t find the items they needed at the supermarket, masks were scarce, disinfectant wipes were soon impossible to find anywhere, and then the schools closed.  This meant that people who did have a job to go to would now need to figure out who would be able to take care of their children while they were at work.  It also meant that adults at home who normally spent an average of seven to eight hours with their children each day were now spending double that amount and often struggling to figure out how to navigate the new “remote learning” situation.  More frustration.  Additional frustration means less patience and it also increases adult alcohol and drug usage, another major contributor to abuse in society.    

According to a study in the JAMA (Journal of the American Medical Association), there was a national 54% increase in alcohol sales for the week ending March 21, 2020 and online sales increased over 260% from the year before.  Restaurants and bars closed, but liquor stores were considered an essential business.  As most of us know, alcohol use can exacerbate mental health issues, such as anxiety and depression, which were already likely reaching higher levels due to the pandemic itself.

There has not been an abundance of literature/statistical evidence of increased abuse during COVID, but the articles we did find said numbers are up and there is reason for concern.


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