COVID Update: Hotline Continues to Hear from Children, Those Concerned for Their Safety

The COVID-19 crisis has upended life in every home across the country—especially for children. For most, being away from school and daycare means more time at home with loving families, but some children are having the opposite experience.

Since shelter-in-place orders started in March, for the first time ever, more than half of those reaching out to the National Sexual Assault Hotline have been minors. Of the minors who talked about their coronavirus-related concerns, 3 out of 4 said they were living with the person who was abusing them during the quarantine.

At the same time, official reports of child abuse have dropped—not because abuse is lessening, but because children no longer have access to the teachers, guidance counselors, coaches, and other adults who are most likely to spot and report suspected child abuse.

Support specialists on the online hotline also continue to hear from survivors expressing concerns related to the pandemic and intimate partner violence (IPV).

“As states lift their shelter-in-place orders, RAINN expects to see a dramatic jump in visitors to the hotline, as people have greater freedom of movement and the privacy they need to reach out for help,” says Heather Drevna, vice president of communications.

“RAINN has anticipated this surge and we are prepared to be there to answer the call whenever survivors need us. We are so grateful for the steadfast support our community has shown, especially now. Because of you, we have been able to hire and train additional support specialists for the National Sexual Assault Hotline, increasing our capacity to serve survivors when they need it most,” Drevna says.

While this is a stressful time for everyone, uncertainty and feeling a lack of control over life may feel especially overwhelming for survivors of sexual violence already coping with trauma and stress. But one thing is for certain: RAINN’s commitment to be there for survivors, today and every day. If you need to talk, the National Sexual Assault Hotline is available at 800.656.HOPE or online.rainn.org. As always, services are free, confidential, and 24/7.

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