'We all have a duty': Advocates remind the public to report child abuse
EDMONTON -- The reported number of child abuse cases has dropped by one-third during the COVID-19 pandemic, according to the Zebra Child Protection Centre.
The decline is because children are isolating at home with the families, where abuse can go unnoticed because children are not attending school or child care.
A group of agencies that support vulnerable children released a public service announcement on Tuesday to highlight the danger and remind people that home is not always a safe place.
"We wanted to make sure that the public got the message that kids cannot wait," Zebra Centre CEO Cheryl Diebel said. "We all have a duty to report, we all have a duty to recognize child abuse if we see it happening, and the duty to report to either the child protection services or the police services."
The agencies normally see a decline when school ends for the summer. This decline has already started in 2020 and they expect it will last longer because of the public health guidelines for COVID-19.
The Zebra Centre is still open and offering supports during the pandemic, but with added health screenings at their office and reduced on-site staff.
They supported 2,362 children and youth in 2019, 12.6 per cent more than in 2019.
Alberta is home to eight child advocacy centres that provide support to children and young people who have experienced abuse.