Family dynamics have been altered due to the current health pandemic which have put children at a higher risk for abuse and neglect. The decline of childcare availability and economic hardship resulting from loss of employment may affect how parents and guardians treat their children. Abusive behaviors include sexual, physical, and emotional abuse.

As the world tackles the virus and all of the hardships that come with it, people are being told to stay home to prevent the spread. While home may be the safest option for most people, it can also dangerous those living with abusers. Research shows increased levels of stress are oftentimes a clear predictor of physical abuse and neglect on children. This means parents with high levels of stress are more likely to respond to their children’s behaviors and demands in an aggressive or abusive way.

Statistically, there has been a spike in the number of minors contacting hotlines to report abuse. According to the Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network (RAINN), there has been a 22 percent increase in monthly calls from people younger than 18 years-old since the beginning of Coronavirus related stay-at-home orders. Of those people who contacted the RAINN hotline, 67 percent identified their abuser as a family member and 79 percent said they were currently living with their abuser. 1 out of 5 cases where the abuser lived with the minor, the minor immediately contacted the police.

As parents adapt to their new hardships during COVID-19, it is essential for all parents to stay on top of the news, updates and resources about the virus and its effect on children. COVID-19 has brought short and long-term problems for individual and families.

Lone Star Legal Aid’s Crime Victim Unit assists with cases involving child abuse and neglect. If you or a loved one are experiencing abuse and need assistance, you can apply free legal help at www.lonestarlegal.org or over the phone at 1-800-733-8394.  

Other Resources

Texas Crime Victim Legal Assistance Network

Texas Law Help

ChildHelp National Child Abuse Hotline

Texas Abuse Hotline

Child Helpline International

Love is Respect

Futures Without Violence

Lone Star Legal Aid is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit law firm focused on advocacy on behalf of low-income and underserved populations. Lone Star Legal Aid serves the millions of people at 125% of federal poverty guidelines that reside in 72 counties in the eastern and Gulf Coast regions of Texas, and 4 counties of southwest Arkansas. Lone Star Legal Aid focuses its resources on maintaining, enhancing, and protecting income and economic stability; preserving housing; improving outcomes for children; establishing and sustaining family safety and stability, health and well‐being; and assisting populations with special vulnerabilities, like those who have disabilities, or who are elderly, homeless, or have limited English language skills. To learn more about Lone Star Legal Aid, visit our website at www.lonestarlegal.org

Media contact: Clarissa Ayala, cayala@lonestarlegal.org