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Officials concerned about decrease in child abuse reports amid pandemic

Officials concerned about decrease in child abuse reports amid pandemic
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Child abuse claims in New York City have plummeted since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, which local child protective officials said could be a result of unreported cases, The New York Times reported.

The city’s Administration for Children’s Services told the Times that in the first eight weeks of 2019, 1,374 cases of abuse or neglect were investigated each week. In the same period this year they investigated 672 cases, a decline of 51 percent.

“You would think that when we see a decrease in the number of incidents and reports, that would be a good thing: ‘Oh my God, that means kids are safer,’” Darcel Clark, the Bronx district attorney, told the Times. “But it’s just the opposite.”

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This comes as citywide shutdowns have resulted in children spending more time at home with their parents and less time around other adults they could report abuse to. 

“Those people who would ordinarily see our children, their teachers, the pediatricians, social workers, camp counselors, etc., since they don’t have eyes on them now, we don’t know what’s happening with them,” Clark said. 

Since the start of the coronavirus shutdowns, several police departments have noted a rise in domestic violence. In April, the United Nations estimated that an additional six months of lockdown measures could lead to more than 60 million incidents of domestic violence worldwide.

In March, for the first time, minors accounted for a majority of victims using the National Sexual Assault Hotline.