Speak Up!

P J Martin Editor, Metcalfe Division

 By PJ Martin 

Editor 

The Edmonton Herald-News 

 

The biggest concern I have about the pandemic and quarantine is not the virus itself, but the one topic most people do not want to think about or discuss openly…abuse. 

 Children in homes that were already unstable are now at an even greater risk with the uncertainty and disruptions in services brought on by COVID-19. The Children’s Bureau of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, reports that Kentucky has the nation’s highest rate of child abuse, which includes child neglect. Kentucky also has a higher rate of children living under the care of relatives other than their parents. 

 Couple those factors with the financial instability accompanying COVID-19 layoffs, the stress of being at home with the children 24/7 during quarantine, homeschooling responsibilities, and the uncertainty of the future and you have a volatile situation. 

 Now imagine adding a family member to the mix that has an addiction to drugs or alcohol and the uncertainty of the situation amplifies enormously. 

 Children are not the only ones who suffer from abuse. Elderly in the care of family members or caregivers are susceptible to abuse as well. 

 Currently, with the pandemic, many of the people that would usually report abusive situations are shut down or have limited access. Teachers, guidance counselors, grandparents or other close relatives, and doctors during inperson visits contribute to the majority of abuse reporting. 

 The legal definitions of child/adult maltreatment vary from state to state but four types are generally recognized: physical abuse, sexual abuse, neglect (educational neglect, medical neglect). 

 If you have good reason to suspect a child or adult is being neglected or abused speak up, report it! 

 The Kentucky Child/Adult Abuse Hotline number is 1-877-597-2331. 

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