Experts see increase in child abuse cases, with some a direct result of pandemic’s effects

Piedmont Triad News

MOCKSVILLE, N.C. (WGHP) — Over the past year and a half, experts say there has been a spike in child abuse cases.

Experts with the Dragonfly House Children’s Advocacy Center in Mocksville said since the start of the pandemic, there has been a 20 percent increase in child-related abuse from physical to mental.

Of that 20 percent, 30 percent of those cases seen are a direct result of the pandemic’s effects.

Brandi Reagan, Dragonfly House executive director, said this could stem from children and parents in the house more from remote learning and working from home.

Experts with the Dragonfly House said for the fiscal year of 2020-2021, the potentially life-saving resource has seen 306 children dealing with some form of abuse.

Another form of child abuse that has increased is the dangers of the internet. Children are at home from school, learning online, and spending more time on social media.

Reagan said after research on cases involving internet activity, one in five children who use the internet have been sexually solicited, and nearly 60 percent have gotten an instant message or email from a stranger, while half have replied.

Reagan said younger children should not have a cellphone unless it is necessary. Parents should monitor their children’s time on electronic devices and ask questions to protect them.

Sgt. Hannah Whittington, a detective with the Davie County Sherriff’s Office, said children need to know that any form of abuse towards them is not their fault.

“Child dissemination is a touchy one because of the content of it, but you have to be able to talk to them confidently and tell them this is what we are going to do for you, and this is how we can stop this,” Whittington said.

Those at the Dragonfly House help to protect children and have resources to help families go through troubling times.

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