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Child abuse reports down, but expected to increase

KSN Digital Extra

WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – Reports of child abuse were down at the start of the stay-at-home order, but advocates said they are expecting to see an increase.

The Department of Children & Families said the state of Kansas averages 200 reports of child abuse or neglect a day. Between mid-March through early Apri, the number of reports dropped to a daily average of 105 reports per day.

Diana Schunn Executive Director for the Child Advocacy Center said that hasn’t been the case for Sedgwick County.

“In Sedgwick County, we really haven’t seen a significant decrease in the number of forensic interviews that are needing to be done from an investigative standpoint,” said Schunn.

However, she said due to stressors due to the economic impact COVID-19 has had, there may be an increase in reports in the near future.

“We look historically at those numbers of when children have been out of school. So during the summer months during holiday seasons and historically those numbers have significantly proven that those numbers do increase,” said Schunn. “We really are concerned for what that future situation might look like.”

Schunn said there are things the public can do to help.

“We can all remain vigilant at looking for that concern for abuse, we should stay aware that that is still a probability in fact even maybe a higher probability than before,” said Schunn. “If you have a concern there is nothing wrong with making a call to 911, have them do a welfare check, just to be able to make sure that that situation is not a dangerous situation for the child. We would much more err on the side of caution and being able to prevent something from happening than to wait until something definitely does happen.”

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