You’ve probably heard this before – certainly if you follow our blog – that certain crimes were very likely underreported during the pandemic. Many experts believe that domestic violence and child abuse and neglect, all crimes whose numbers dropped significantly on paper, were not in fact down, but rather just not being accurately reported during the shut downs.
The reasons, they say, is because families were trapped in their homes together for long periods of time without any regular contact with the outside world. As such, the increased stress of financial troubles, working from home, excessive alcohol consumption, and lack of access to outsiders who would see the signs of violence and report them, resulted in a significant drop in reports. But that decrease is not apparently an accurate reflection of reality.
The numbers on paper are not the numbers in real life, experts say.
If you were to take the stats for last year’s reported child abuse numbers, it would look like one of Michigan’s best years in a very long time. Cause for celebration, perhaps. But many people working with abused children say any excitement at this point is premature. In fact, they claim the reality is very likely skewed in the opposite direction, with the numbers of abused and neglected children actually increasing during 2020 instead.
Several county prosecutors have told the media that they expect a spike in the number of teachers and educators reporting abuse as soon as schools reopen across the state. With school personnel having nothing more than video conference contact with students, it’s very hard to know if any of those kids are victims of abuse. And there is no privacy in the online classroom setting, making it very hard for concerned teachers to talk to individual students if they think someone may be hurting them at home.
Experts say children not leaving home makes it harder for them to speak up.
Another factor that experts say may have an impact on the numbers, is the issue of children themselves speaking up. Kids are apparently much more likely to report abuse if they are away from their abuser and feeling safe. So children who are schooling from home almost never have the freedom to make reports of abuse. They have no agency to speak up, no privacy away from their abuser, and do not feel safe in the removed setting of the online classroom.
Here at The Kronzek Firm, most of us are parents and we understand the importance of protecting children. However, we also understand that there are usually two sides to every story, and that the law allows everyone the right to defend themselves against allegations and accusations. If CPS has reached out to you for any reason, or someone has made a claim about your children being at risk of abuse or neglect, call 866 766 5245 immediately and get help. The skilled and experienced CPS defense attorneys at The Kronzek Firm can help you protect your family, and your rights.