Child advocacy center addresses concerns about unreported child abuse in pandemic

RALEIGH COUNTY, WV (WOAY) – One big concern as we could possibly be looking at another semester of online school: unreported child abuse.

Often times, teachers and school personnel are the ones who speak up and report suspected child abuse. That can be difficult to detect when online schooling.

Scott Miller, executive director of the Just For Kids Child Advocacy Center,  says now more than ever, even if an adult has the slightest suspicion, it is best to report it.

“Maybe you’ve talked to the child on the phone or you’re on an online class and you saw something that was a little suspicious, it is important for teachers to be extra cautious and know that they don’t have to know that something is happening. They just need to suspect that something is happening,” Miller said.

When schools first shut down, Miller said reports were down, but now, they are starting to see that number climb back up. 

Miller says in the times of COVID, it is now more likely for a child to be their own advocate. Typically, Just For Kids encourages the adults to be the ones to speak out as it is not the child’s job, but now they are finding ways to empower the child to be their own advocate in these changing times.

Anna Saunders
Anna Saunders is a weekend reporter for WOAY. With a diploma from Princeton Senior High School and a mother from Fayette County, she is no stranger to the area. She received a degree in Media Arts and Design from James Madison University in Harrisonburg, Virginia and wanted to return home to start her career as a reporter.