The Children's Advocacy Center of Central Texas is gearing up for what could result in a large amount of child abuse cases.
"We're quite fearful of what September is going to look like. We anticipate a large amount of children making outcries once they get back into a safe environment," said Executive Director Michelle Carter.
Carter says because of the pandemic, child abuse victims are sheltered in place away from teachers and others, who are trained to spot signs of child abuse and to report it.
In 2019 the Department of Family and Protective Services confirmed 313 cases of child abuse in Brazos County, 1,118 in McLennan County, and 1,332 in Bell County.
"Anybody that's around children can recognize changes in their behaviors. The impact that it makes on these children's lives long-term can just be horrific, and we can stop that," said Carter.
Signs of physical abuse include:
- Frequent injuries such as bruises, cuts, black eyes, or burns without adequate explanations
- Frequent complaints of pain without obvious injury
- Burns or bruises in unusual patterns that may indicate the use of an instrument or human bite; cigarette burns on any part of the body
- Lack of reaction to pain
- Aggressive, disruptive, and destructive behavior
- Passive, withdrawn, and emotionless behavior
- Fear of going home or seeing parents
- Injuries that appear after a child has not been seen for several days
- Unreasonable clothing that may hide injuries to arms or legs
If you see something, say something. If you or someone you know is a victim, call the child abuse hotline number 1-800-252-5400. If the threat is urgent, call 911.
The center is hosting a virtual masquerade ball in order to raise funds. It will consist of an online auction, virtual bake sale and a vacation raffle.
The event will be held July 11, 2020 from 9am-3pm