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Calls to child abuse hotline jumped nearly 14% early in pandemic, study finds

Little boy, sitting in a dark, playing with smartphone
Posted at 4:22 PM, May 03, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-03 16:22:35-04

A recent study published in the JAMA Pediatrics Journal found that calls to child abuse hotlines jumped nearly 14% at the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic.

Researchers studied calls and texts to National Child Abuse Hotline Childhelp from March 1 to May 26, 2020, and compared them to the same period in 2019.

Researchers said there was a 13.75% increase.

The study found that Childhelp received 35,480 call and text inquiries, mostly from women (74.63%) and adults 18 years and older (92.97%).

Calls increased after health and human services declared a public health emergency at the end of January 2020 but then decreased after schools began closing in March.

But texts increased after schools closed, researchers said.

In May 2020, both calls and texts surged higher than they were in 2019.

There was also a smaller decrease in calls from Child Protective Services workers but an increase in calls from landlords and family.