For most of us, the shelter in place order is a sensible act of self-protection during the coronavirus pandemic. But home is not a safe place for everyone – for some, especially children, it is a dangerous, abusive one.
According to a HuffPost article, children face a heightened risk for sexual place during this time. In fact, the Rape Abuse and Incest National Network (RAINN) has seen an increase in minors reporting sexual violence in March, the month most shelter-in-place orders were implemented nationwide. More than half of RAINN’s sexual abuse hotline callers identified under the age of 18. And of those individuals, 67% identified their perpetrators as a family member. Within that group, 79% said they were living with the perpetrator. RAINN’s victim service program helps an average of approximately 25,000 people every month.
The Reason for the Uptick in Calls
There could be many factors that contribute to the reason for the increased calls from minors. But according to RAINN, the main reason is that children can’t access the safety net of other adults they usually see outside their home during the pandemic shelter-in-place order.
Most sexually abused children (a staggering 93%) are abused by someone they know and trust. Although parents and other adults in the home can be the prime perpetrators, other children in the house, including older siblings and cousins, can also be abusers. Approximately one-third of all child sexual abuse cases are committed by another minor.
Inability to Reach Sexually Abused Children Who Need Help
In addition to the troubling spike in reports, advocates of child sexual abuse victims face another problem – the inability to reach the children who need help. When a child sex abuse complaint is filed, a caseworker normally visits the home and interviews the child and others involved. However, these options have significantly been reduced during the pandemic, leaving many organizations are only able to offer emotional support. The best and only option for advocates seems to be offering virtual or telephonic emotional support.
In rural areas that don’t have the best broadband connection, this option may not even be available because children can’t access the internet to get a hold of caseworkers and other educators.
Moreover, even if everything goes as it should and the child victims are able to reach someone, finding emergency shelter for the child amid a global pandemic is nearly impossible – and depends on what child protection services are still available in that area.
Contact Our Los Angeles Child Sex Abuse Attorneys
If you or a loved one has been the victim of child sexual abuse, you may be entitled to monetary compensation. Although no amount of money will undo the harm caused, it can bring a sense of justice and closure for victims. For more information or to consult with an experienced LA child sex abuse attorney, please call The Carrillo Law Firm at 626-799-9375.