Coronavirus

Actions

Child advocates find alternative ways to reach children, prevent abuse during pandemic

Coronavirus
Posted at 9:32 PM, Sep 02, 2020
and last updated 2020-09-02 23:08:44-04

CLEVELAND — The pandemic may be making it more difficult for child advocacy groups to detect cases of possible abuse and get help for vulnerable children.

Carrie Joseph, the prevention, education and inclusion manager for the Domestic Violence & Child Advocacy Center (DVCAC), said during the pandemic, advocates have had less interaction with children than usual, and that has made things tough.

"They were hearing and finding younger children with more severe cases were coming through the hospitals," Joseph said of the Child Advocacy Center, noting that there were fewer sexual assault examinations at the hospitals. However, she said the number of cases overall was about the same during the pandemic as it typically is.

Joseph said children are not at "the traditional places where we could see them," such as schools or after-school programs, during the pandemic.

But advocates are trying to find alternatives to make sure they can keep in contact with children. That includes telehealth therapy sessions, even though those can be a little more challenging.

"The environment may not be conducive for a confidential-style therapy session," Joseph said. "There may be other people in the area."

Some therapists and advocates do make home visits, Joseph said, and can also meet people in "different, alternate locations in the community."

Joseph said she and other advocates are also focused on educating people about how to recognize possible child abuse and report it to children and family services.

"If it's not an actual report of abuse, I think some people feel like they have to look for and confirm that something's wrong. But if it's just a reasonable suspicion, a call can be made," Joseph said.

People can help by checking in with children they know personally and asking how they're doing.

"Sometimes if you know that child well enough, you'll know if something's not right," Joseph said. "Sometimes if you have that bond with that child, they'll share that, you know, maybe something's not OK."

Sometimes, Joseph said, people can also ask the adults in the home.

"They may not come out and say exactly what's happening, but they might indicate there's some different stressors going on and there may be some things they need support with," Joseph said. "So just even adding support to families that we know have limited resources, have been isolated for a period of time, maybe different stressors have come up. They're out of work, different things like that."

To report suspected child abuse to the state's Office of Families and Children, click here for more information.

You can call (216) 391-HELP for 24-hour help from the Domestic Violence & Child Advocacy Center with questions about what to look for if you suspect child abuse.

Additional Coronavirus information and resources:

See complete coverage on our Coronavirus Continuing Coverage page.

Rebound Northeast Ohio News 5's initiative to help people through the financial impact of the coronavirus by offering one place to go for information on everything available to help and how to access it. We're providing resources on:

Getting Back to Work - Learn about the latest job openings, how to file for benefits and succeed in the job market.

Making Ends Meet - Find help on topics from rent to food to new belt-tightening techniques.

Managing the Stress - Feeling isolated or frustrated? Learn ways to connect with people virtually, get counseling or manage your stress.

Doing What's Right - Keep track of the way people are spending your tax dollars and treating your community.

We're Open! Northeast Ohio is place created by News 5 to open us up to new ways of thinking, new ways of gathering and new ways of supporting each other.

Click here for a page with resources including a COVID-19 overview from the CDC, details on cases in Ohio, a timeline of Governor Mike DeWine's orders since the outbreak, coronavirus' impact on Northeast Ohio, and link to more information from the Ohio Department of Health, the Cuyahoga County Board of Health, the CDC and the WHO.

See data visualizations showing the impact of coronavirus in Ohio, including county-by-county maps, charts showing the spread of the disease, and more.

The CDC and the Ohio Department of Health are now recommending the use of cloth face coverings in public to slow the spread of COVID-19.

Read more about the CDC's recommendation here. Here is a step-by-step guide on how to make a face mask from common household materials, without having to know how to sew.

View a global coronavirus tracker with data from Johns Hopkins University.

Download our streaming app on your favorite device.  Click here for more.

Download our streaming app on your favorite device. Click here for more.