Child Protect says most abuses cases reported during school year

Published: Aug. 11, 2022 at 9:58 PM CDT|Updated: Aug. 11, 2022 at 10:18 PM CDT
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MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) - As students and teachers ease back into the classrooms, agencies like the Alabama Department of Human Resources and Child Protect will be working around the clock on child abuse cases.

From 2019 to 2020, Child Protect saw a 23% increase in reported cases, with the pandemic fueling its most severe cases.

Child Protect Executive Director Kristin Byrd said the school year is when most cases of abuse are reported.

“Teachers are with students a lot of times more than the parents are during the day,” Byrd said, “Teachers also are looking at how kids are behaving in class.”

Byrd mentioned signs of abuse in children often appear through changes in appearance and behavior.

“You’ll see bruising on them, maybe dressing in clothes that don’t match the climate,” she said, “Changes in eating habits, changes in mood, maybe they’re sleeping in class or not able to stay awake like they were before, having problems sitting.”

If teachers see any suspicions of abuse, they are to follow school protocols and report them immediately. However, if the child is in “immediate danger” they should notify law enforcement.

“You don’t have to prove anything,” Byrd said, “You just have to be suspicious.”

People who see signs of abuse in other spaces outside of school can report them to their local DHR office.

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