Social service officials concerned for children in abusive homes during stay at home order

Local News

ROANOKE COUNTY, Va. (WFXR) — With families being forced to isolate together during the coronavirus pandemic, officials are worried about children suffering from abuse.

Roanoke County Social Services says they’ve actually gotten fewer calls since social distancing began, but they suspect that may be because not as many people are seeing children and noticing signs of abuse. 

From March 1 to March 15, they had 69 calls for abuse and validated 28. However, from March 16 to March 31, once the stay at home order was placed, they only got 33 calls and validated 16.

For reference, they had 171 calls in January and validated 91 of them.

“Our expectation is that cases are at least status quo, if not rising, but because of our referral sources being unable to see families, we’re not getting the reports,” said Shannon Brabham, Roanoke County Social Services Assistant Director of Service Programs.

“So our numbers actually have gone down, but there could be much more going on that unreported.”

Brabham says they expect the cases are normal if not rising, but their referral sources aren’t able to see children. Their number one source for reports are school employees.

Brabham says they are still providing services, making visits, and following up on abuse calls. Anyone concerned that a child may be suffering abuse can call the hotline number at (800) 422-4453.

Social workers are still going on calls, but they have PPE and are trying to meet outside the home when possible. They are also doing virtual foster care meetings when possible.

Brabham says people should try to get rid of cabin fever so they don’t get frustrated. Separate inside the house, take advantage of the nice weather while maintaining social distancing, and keep children engaged.

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