OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) — The city of Council Bluffs and Pottawattamie County joined other cities across the country as they issue proclamations to raise awareness on child abuse.
As the world was on lockdown and people were socially distancing, the number of child abuse reports plummeted.
Despite low reports, many experts in this field say the issue is still very much alive.
“We know with parents during the pandemic, stress has gone up. Also, if you look at the depression and anxiety numbers, they have actually gone up quite a lot and so we know that parents are really stressed are really facing a lot and so we assume those numbers are actually going up,” said Jessica Rayment, community impact coordinator with Promise Partners.
According to the National Institute of Health, a child is more likely to be abused if their parent struggles with mental health.
As well as mental health, alcoholism and drinking have skyrocketed during the pandemic which is another factor that increases the likelihood of abuse within a home.
Rayment said with everyone social distancing, teachers and others in the community are unable to identify child abuse cases.
“Any markings or things like that. Also, sometimes with kiddos, kind of retreating back and being shy about things, but that's kind of a hard one with the pandemic...I think we all have kind of closed off a little bit,” said Rayment.
Rayment said a high number of Pottawattamie County adults have experienced some form of abuse in their past.
A recent study by the Iowa ACEs 360 Coalition found nearly 18% of adults in the county were part of an abusive home.
If you do suspect there is a child abuse case and feel the need to report it, call the Nebraska Child Protective Service hotline at 1-800-652-1999 or call the Iowa Department of Human Services hotline at 1-800-362-2178.