Child abuse reports decrease due to people staying home

BOWLING GREEN, Ky. – Officials say child abuse reports are down during the pandemic. The reason, fewer people are in contact with children.

Due to social distancing, some of the vulnerable and innocent people are suffering in silence.

“We have concern that the reduction in the reports of child abuse are caused by the fact that the children may be in the homes with the abusers and those who would raise the alarm or make us aware of the abuse of these children aren’t having contact with them to make us aware of it,” said Major Brian Harrell, the president of the Barren River Area Child Advocacy Center’s Board of Directors and a Bowling Green Police Department major.

Reports statewide during the pandemic are down 50 percent, according to the center’s director Jennifer Bryant.

Locally, from March 13 to April 13, the center conducted 13 interviews as compared to 45 during the same dates last year.

That is a 70% drop.

“Teachers are a primary source of reporting in child abuse as well as pediatricians, dentists, you know people in our community who interact with families outside of the home. Children aren’t even going to church or perhaps even to grandma’s house,” said Bryant.

Warren County Commonwealth’s Attorney Chris Cohron encourages the public to remain vigilant to make sure children are cared for properly in the community.

“Everybody can usually clue in when something is out of the ordinary or a child is not reacting as they usually would,” said Cohron.

Bowling Green Police Department records show a 30% drop in child abuse cases investigated by detectives.

Harrell encourages the public to be observant for excessive bruising or bruising in places out of the ordinary.

“Active children are going to have bruises, but we are talking about bruises on areas that just don’t occur such as ears and eyes,” said Harrell.

If you see something, say something.

The advocacy center has developed a waiting list during this time to help serve the children in the community in non-emergency situations while following CDC guidelines.