TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (The News Service of Florida) — Advocates are worried about the effects of coronavirus on at-risk children and other vulnerable populations, as the economy worsens and stress in the home goes up.
Calls to Florida’s abuse hotline in March are up over 30 percent from February. Statistics from the Department of Children and Families show more than 34 thousand calls placed in the first four weeks of March, compared to roughly 26 thousand calls during February.
Victims advocates say the usual trend is that there are fewer calls during vacations and school breaks, since teachers and counselors don’t see kids daily, and because a victim of domestic violence is less likely to have time away from her abuser.
Alan Abramowitz is the Executive Director of Florida’s Guardian ad Litem Program, which works with disadvantaged kids. He said unemployment and other economic stressors are often a trigger for child abuse and domestic violence.
“We need to look out for each other. We need to know that if we are frustrated and we are in a house, maybe the adult needs to take a timeout,” Abramowitz said. “This is a very important time for our families.”
Florida’s abuse hotline is staffed 24 hours a day and can be reached at 1-800-962-2873.