We have heard the reports of how domestic violence has risen during this coronavirus crisis. The editorial in the most recent Weekend Edition of the Daily Journal addressed the issue and the important role the local Harbor House plays in curtailing it.
Meanwhile PBS, among other news outlets, has issued a report that, on the surface, would seem to counteract the notion domestic abuse has increased. But it also illustrates the importance of scratching beneath the surface.
Massachusetts stands as an example of this alarming trend. It is a state hit particularly hard by the crisis, and as the pandemic intensified, the reports of child abuse declined by 54 percent.
Similar reports have emerged elsewhere, but don’t think it’s a positive sign. Experts in the field surmise the decline can be linked to the school closures, which have accompanied the crisis. The schools are often the first line of defense toward discovering abuse, as the staff members who work there are compelled to report it when they see it.
The reports diminish when school is not in session. There is further evidence that shows this is also the case during the summer break.
Public health must be the utmost concern, but this situation demonstrates how it’s important to reopen the schools as soon as reasonably possible — hopefully by early September at the latest.
One other note: The weekend editorial made mention the online chat hotline Harbor House has established to help abuse victims seek aid remotely via the internet is open to both adults and children. Let us reiterate that point.
The hotline is available from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. weekdays by going to harborhousedv.org and clicking the “chat now” option to connect with an advocate.