Experts concerned child abuse cases could increase during stress of COVID-19

TOLEDO, Oh. (WTVG) - As families follow stay-at-home orders during COVID-19, stress levels are likely to increase.

(MGN)

Between working from home or losing a job and having to homeschool children, parents and caretakers are stressed. That added stress could put children at risk.

"We all know stress can lead to domesitc violence. When people are stressed, they may have a tendency to lash out or they may have a tendency to get angry, and this would intensify these types of things happening, " said Tracey Edwards, the CEO of National Exchange Club.

The National Exchange is a community service-based organization based in Toledo. They focus on preventing child abuse by partnering with local agencies across the country to help at-risk families.

They use the Parent Aide Program, giving families in need one-on-one assistance in the home to make sure caregivers and children are protected.

At a time when stress is high for all families, Edwards wanted people to know help is available. The National Exchange Club has information on its website that can help parents de-stress and connect with their children.

Some basic tips from NEC include encouraging parents and caregivers to practice self-care.

• Connect with friends
• Write a journal
• Get adequate sleep
• Do no hesitate to seek professional help

Due to a lack of data, it is unclear if child abuse cases are up, but Edwards suspects they are. One of the biggest problems is, with school canceled due to COVID-19, children are no longer exposed to mandatory reporters.

"Mandatory reporters, who would normally protect them in that type of situation," says Edwards.

If you know of a child being abused, call the police. Meanwhile, if you are a parent that is struggling, reach out for help.