Child abuse cases increase as students return to classroom

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"It's our job. It's everyone's job to take care of them."

LITTLE FLOCK, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) — Child abuse reporting has gone up over the past few weeks as students start the school year.

Staff at the Children’s Advocacy Center of Benton County said child abuse reporting went down after students started learning from home in March.

But with school starting in August, they’re staying busy with an increase of cases.

Director of development for the center, Brooke Boles said the changing trend could be for a few reasons.

She said 95% of child abuse victims know their offender and home may not have been the safest place for them. Now that many children are back in the classroom, they’re around mandated reporters and may feel safe to talk about what’s going on at home. 

Boles said even though staff have a lot of work to do with the increase of cases, they won’t know the true impact of students being back in school until the end of September.

The work the nonprofit does is important, but Boles said it’s a community effort.

“They’re going to be taking care of us hopefully someday,” Boles said. “It’s our job, it’s everyone’s job to take care of them. They are innocent and they don’t ask for these awful things to happen to them. So the least we can do is stand up and fight for them.”

Every year, the nonprofit hosts its biggest fundraiser in September. But because of the pandemic, the event will be completely virtual this year.

Boles said in order to eliminate child abuse, help is needed more than ever before. 

“In order to make a change with this issue, we have to have these critical conversations,” Boles said. “Whether it’s in person or virtual, the conversation just can’t not happen.”

The event starts at 12:00 p.m. on Thursday, September 10. It is free for anyone to attend.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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