Advocates urge those being abused to seek help as Child Abuse Prevention Month begins

April is National Child Abuse Prevention Month and state officials and counselors are urging those experiencing abuse to contact authorities as soon as possible.

News 12 Staff

Apr 3, 2020, 2:23 AM

Updated 1,473 days ago

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April is National Child Abuse Prevention Month and state officials and counselors are urging those experiencing abuse to contact authorities as soon as possible.
The nonprofit group 180 Turnaround reports that there has been a 25-40% drop in calls to its domestic abuse and sexual violence hotlines in the past three weeks since the coronavirus lockdowns.
“People are scared, understandably, and they’re trying to get their lives together or keep their lives together,” says executive director Anna Diaz-White. “There’s so much uncertainty.”
Experts say that this stress can lead to violent behavior at home toward a partner or child. Diaz-White says that the drop in reports of abuse is not surprising.
“We saw similar effects after the 2008 economic turndown and again after Hurricane Sandy,” she says.
Diaz-White says that if the effects of abuse are not seen by an authority like a teacher, it usually isn’t reported.
New Jersey Department of Children and Families Commissioner Christine Norbut Beyer on Thursday emphasized that even neighbors of those who are in distress can help and should call authorities if they witness abuse.
“Sometimes just being able to talk it through is enough. Other times, dropping off a meal or offering to help navigate unemployment or other benefits can be the best way to help,” she says.
And for those experiencing domestic abuse, help can still be close by, according to Diaz-White.
“And I say allowed to because that’s the way it is. If they’re allowed to go to the pharmacy, if they’re allowed to go to the food store, customer service or the cashier or the pharmacist, say, ‘Please call the police. I need help,’” she says.
For those who are unable to leave the house, people who are being abused can also call or text the state crisis line.
NJ CRISIS TEXT LINE
Text NJ to 741741
NJ YOUTH HELPLINE
1-888-222-2228
DOMESTIC ABUSE HOTLINE
1-800-572-7233
NJ MENTAL HEALTH CARES
1-866-202-4357


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