Coronavirus pandemic causes rise in child abuse cases

ORLANDO, Fla. — Officials said the stress of the coronavirus pandemic has caused a rise in child abuse cases nationwide.

A doctor at the Orlando Health Arnold Palmer Hospital for Children said he expects the number of cases to grow.

“As a trauma center, we will see one, maybe two severely injured children a month. In the last three weeks, since all this has started, we’ve seen about seven or eight,” said Dr. Donald Plumley, the medical director for pediatric trauma at Orlando Health Arnold Palmer Hospital for Children.

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The stress of the pandemic can be especially hard on some parents who are worried about financial pressure, job loss and homeschooling.

Plumley said the pandemic has left parents stressed, frustrated and without a safety net.

The National Child Abuse hotline saw a 20% increase in calls last month. Plumley said he is afraid the number will get even higher.

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Plumley said he recognizes that everyone is scared, and while the pandemic won’t last forever, the effects of child abuse could.

Anyone who needs help can call the National Child Abuse hotline at 800-422-4453.

Karen Parks, WFTV.com

Karen Parks is a reporter at WFTV.

Katlyn Brieskorn, WFTV.com

Katlyn Brieskorn is a Digital Assignment Editor at WFTV. She joined Channel 9 in July 2019.