The problem of child abuse is not going away, and not as many cases are being reported.
“We know that reports are down.”Claudia Raymer, Executive director of the OHIO County Family Resource Network
“We’ve definitely seen a decline in the number of reports”Jim McKay, State director of prevent child abuse West Virginia
Numbers aren’t just falling across the nation, but in West Virginia.
In just our state, State director of prevent child abuse West Virginia Jim McKay says the number of child abuse reports have dropped 30 to 40%. McKay’s talking about months ago when the pandemic hit and says there’s only been a slight uptick since.
“It gives you pause when you see a decline in the reports, you want to make sure nothing is falling through the cracks.”Jim McKay, State director of prevent child abuse West Virginia
McKay isn’t all that surprised by it… along with Executive director of the Ohio County Family Resource Network Claudia Raymer.
“It’s not uncommon. We see that every summer, the number of reports are down because they aren’t in school.”Claudia Raymer, Executive director of the OHIO County Family Resource Network
What is being reported are only the cases we know of. But others are out there and not all of them have gone unnoticed.
“So, they are still being seen. Reports are still being made.”Claudia Raymer, Executive director of the OHIO County Family Resource Network
Raymer says it’s neighbors, churches, and other places, outside of just school grounds, that are reporting them, and Raymer says so should we.
“If your gut is telling you there’s physical abuse, sexual abuse happening, you report it. Period.”Claudia Raymer, Executive director of the OHIO County Family Resource Network
Raymer says there’s signs we should be aware of.
If a child has bruises, especially bruises in different stages of healing, that can be a sign of physical abuse. Even look out for things like acting out or having unusual sexual knowledge for their age.
Raymer says don’t hesitate… even if you aren’t sure.
“Some people say to ‘what if I’m wrong?’ Well, ‘I say what if you’re right.”Claudia Raymer, Executive director of the OHIO County Family Resource Network
There are other signs of child abuse and even neglect you can look out for. Just go to dhhr.wv.gov to learn more.
If you need to report a case, the number to call is 1 (800) 352-6513.