The COVID-19 pandemic has altered the way of life for so many people throughout this country and here in South Carolina. Unfortunately, staying at home orders has had an unintended consequence that many people did not think about at first – an increase in child sexual abuse. Recently, for the first time ever, more than half of the calls to the National Sexual Assault Hotline were from children under the age of 18. Many of these calls with the result of a child being abused by someone in their home.
What is going on with child abuse during COVID-19?
According to the Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network (RAINN), which operates the National Sexual Assault Hotline, the overall number of calls made to the hotline by children and teenagers rose by 22% since stay at home orders were issued (when compared to the same time frame last year).
Of the callers, 79% said that they were living with their abuser, and 67% identified their abuser as a family member. One out of five minors who called the hotline said that they were fearful that COVID-19 shutdowns and school closures made it more difficult for them to disclose their abuse to a trusted adult.
This uptick in calls confirms that data provided by RAINN that, in 93% of child sexual abuse cases, the victims know their abusers. Studies show that 34% of child sexual abusers are family members and 59% or other acquaintances.
We are here to help you today
This matters particularly if you are a single parent and are worried about your child’s safety when they are with a custodial parent or on visitation with a non-custodial parent. If you suspect your child, or any child, is being sexually abused by someone in their household, call law enforcement immediately. At the Elliott Frazier Law Firm, we are here to help if you need to work through the courts to modify custody or visitation orders. You can contact our Greenville Child custody attorney for a consultation today so we work together to ensure your child’s safety.