MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) - A River Region child advocacy center which has seen an increase in child abuse cases since the start of the pandemic said the spike isn’t slowing.
“Kids were put in very stressful situations, and they became very isolated,” said Jannah Bailey, the executive director of Child Protect. “So, we saw our numbers increase, and unfortunately, we have not seen those go down.”
Child Protect is an organization that helps in the investigation of child abuse cases and offers a support system to Montgomery County youth when there are allegations of abuse.
This year, Child Protect conducted a forensic interview with 367 children, compared to 223 the year before. That’s an increase of 144 kids.
In terms of counseling, the center consistently saw 14 children last year, compared to 32 this year.
“Still our highest is, about 65-70% of what we see is, child sex abuse,” Bailey said. “But the other, we have seen a dramatic increase in the number of severe physically abused children.”
This is likely linked to less parents working, additional financial stress and school closures – a result of COVID-19 outbreaks.
Many kids are about two weeks away from getting out of school for the holiday break. Child Protect asks the public to be the “eyes and ears” for those kids.
“If you suspect something you can always call Child Protect, and we can help you find the resources, or we can point you in the right direction,” the executive director said.
Child Protect can report the abuse for those hesitant to do so themselves.
“We can always report for you if that’s something that stopping you that you don’t want to a family member to know that you’re making a report or you’re really worried about a child on your street,” Bailey said.
“Please call us,” she added. “We have to remain vigilant in dealing with these children and making sure that they get the resources that they need.”
Additional information on Child Protect is available on the advocacy center’s website.
You can contact the center by calling (334) 262-1220.
Copyright 2021 WSFA 12 News. All rights reserved.