Child Abuse Reports Decline During Pandemic

Child Abuse Reports Decline During Pandemic

EAU CLAIRE COUNTY (WQOW) - New data shows a drop in the number of child abuse reports across the country, and Eau Claire County is seeing a similar trend.

An Associated Press analysis says school personnel are the top reporters of child abuse, and correlates part of the decrease in reports to staff not being able to see kids in-person during most of 2020.

Officials with the Eau Claire County Department of Human Services say that in 2020, they received 1,219 reports with allegations of child maltreatment.

That's 123 fewer reports than the year before.

Social work manager Tasha Alexander said some signs of abuse or neglect you can look out for include little to no supervision of children for extended periods of time, or if a child is injured and their story keeps changing on how they got hurt.

"Or they're talking about being exceptionally fearful of their home," Alexander said. "If people are noticing that there's a significant behavioral change for the children or even if there's a significant behavioral change that's being observed of the child's caretakers, whether that's the parents or the primary adults who are caring for them."

An Eau Claire Police Department spokesperson says in 2020, they responded to 207 calls for crimes against children including assault, rape, neglect and fondling versus 218 calls in 2019. A child could be a victim of multiple offenses in one incident.

Katrina Lim