Orange County

Coronavirus: Florida child abuse, domestic violence hotlines see surge of calls in March

ORLANDO, Fla. — As Floridians and the rest of the world react to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, abuse hotlines are seeing a spike in callers seeking help.

More than 34,000 calls were placed into a hotline for vulnerable populations and at-risk children over the first four weeks of March, according to the Florida Department of Children and Families.

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February saw roughly 26,000 calls in comparison, so that’s an increase of 30 percent.

Advocates worry as the economy worsens that the pandemic may cause a rise in domestic violence and child abuse inside the home.

With so many out of work and asked to stay home to slow the spread of the virus, victims of domestic violence are more likely to be around an abuser.

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Schools often assist state agencies with possible issues of child abuse, but are less likely to witness signs of abuse now with all schools across the state being temporally closed to students.

Any victims of abuse or witnesses to domestic violence can call Florida’s Abuse Hotline 24 hours a day at 1-800-962-2873.