Year in review: The pandemic impacted abuse reports throughout the year

BOWLING GREEN, Ky. – 2020 is coming to an end and WNKY is looking into how the pandemic impacted the number of reported cases of abuse.

Local non-profits have noticed different trends in sexual, domestic and child abuse.

The Barren River Area Child Advocacy Center deals with child sexual assault and severe abuse.

Over their fiscal year, they have seen a rise of child abuse cases according to Jennifer Bryant, the executive director of BRACAC.

“We here at the center have seen pretty consistent numbers, somewhat of a slow since we have gone back to a completely virtual situation and of course the holidays. So we are expecting more once the children return to school,” said Bryant.

The number of reports to BRACAC seem to fall when students are home and rise each time students return to school, according to Bryant.

“Anytime we increase social isolation, we are going to see an increase in child abuse and child sexual abuse. You know, we want to minimize the opportunity for potential abuses to be one on one with children,” said Bryant.

Another non-profit, Hope Harbor, provides counseling and support for survivors of sexual assault.

Hope Harbor reportedly saw a 38% decrease in calls to their hotline this year.

Alayna Milby, with Hope Harbor says she believes that decrease means survivors were unable to report their assaults, not that the assaults were not happening.

“I am so bothered that while I feel Hope Harbor has been able to be innovative in some ways, we obviously were not able to overcome some of these barriers that survivors are facing. That is what that 38% decrease said to me,” said Milby.

The Barren River Area Safe Space is another non-profit that helps people get out of domestic abuse situations.

Representatives from BRASS have noticed abuse has gotten more violent in domestic situations, likely because abusers have lost some sense of control of the world around them and take more control over their victims.

If you are or someone you know may be a victim of abuse, here are some resources:

Barren River Area Child Advocacy Center – (877) 597-2331

Barren River Area Safe Space – (800) 928-1183

Hope Harbor – 1(800) 656-4673 or Local: (270) 846-1100