Child abuse reports are down, but advocates say lack of reporting is to blame

"When kids aren't visible to the community... the opportunity to see issues and report issues goes down,"said Nadereh Salim, CEO of Children's Network of SWFL.

The Florida Department of Children and Families said calls to their child abuse hotline are down. Child advocacy centers in Lee and Collier counties said the decrease in calls isn't necessarily a good thing.

 

"When kids aren't visible to the community... the opportunity to see issues and report issues goes down,"said Nadereh Salim, CEO of Children's Network of SWFL.

 

Teachers and after school programs are the most likely to notice and report child abuse. Now that those have closed due to the global pandemic, reports have dropped.

"While the number of abuse reports actually is down...The abuse is much more intensive and the abuse is much more aggressive," said Jinx Liggett, the Executive Director for Youth Haven, a shelter for abused children and teens in Naples.

 

A Children's Network case worker said it's not too dissimilar from the summer months.

 

"Now that children are home all the time with the parents, there's so much tension in the house that it raises a lot of concerns," case worker Joe Brube said. 

 
 

Child advocates urge neighbors to be vigilant and report abuse if they see it. For more information on how to report, click here.