Children’s advocacy centers reported handling 40,000 fewer child abuse cases in the first half of 2020 than they did during the same period last year, according to preliminary National Children’s Alliance survey data obtained by The Washington Post.
The drop comes amid the coronavirus pandemic, which has forced many children to remain at home with their parents with little interaction with other adults.
“We have absolutely no reason to believe the actual incidence rate has declined,” Teresa Huizar, executive director of the National Children’s Alliance, told the Post. “What we really believe is that there are 40,000 fewer kids that haven’t been saved from abuse."
The National Children’s Alliance, an accrediting body for a network of 900 children’s advocacy centers, collected the information from their partner centers. Federal data on child abuse is typically released only every two years.
In Maryland, children’s advocacy centers reported a 25 percent drop, and in Virginia, a 21 percent drop, the survey reportedly found.
“I am expecting at this point … that our stats are going to remain depressed throughout the fall,” Huizar said.
The data comes as some schools across the country are trying to reopen for in-person classes, though many have been forced to switch back to digital only after seeing COVID-19 outbreaks.
The White House, which has advocated for schools to reopen, has noted that many children rely on schools for daily lunches and argued that in some cases teachers who see children in person will notice and report cases of child abuse from outside school.