Act for Kids is urging Australians to stay alert to the warning signs of child abuse and neglect and to report any concerns immediately, as child abuse cases are expected to soar in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Dr Neil Carrington, Act for Kids Chief Executive Officer, said we are preparing for the worst as other countries are seeing a 300% increase of kids at risk when they come out the other end of the crisis.
“It’s not a matter of if but when the number of cases surge in Australia.”
“It’s almost like a pressure cooker, the harm is escalating, but the reporting is going down, with a 60 to 80 per cent reduction in the numbers of reports of child harm expected,” he said.
“Social isolation measures mean that many children are left without connection to their usual support networks. Some kids in fact will be spending more time with people who harm or neglect them.”
Dr Carrington said he is worried because there are fewer eyes on vulnerable kids, however protecting children is everyone’s responsibility.
“We all need to play our part by checking in with families and reaching out for support and advice if we have any concerns.”
“Some of the signs of child abuse and neglect, include children crying for long periods of time, aggressive or repeated shouting, hearing hitting or things being broken, children not wanting to go home, children looking dirty or not changing their clothes, or children being withdrawn or anxious,” he said.
“If you have a reason to suspect a child is experiencing harm, or is at risk of experiencing harm, please contact the relevant authorities in your state. If you believe a child is in immediate danger or in a life-threatening situation, please contact the police immediately by dialling 000.”
Now more than ever, it’s crucial we stand together to keep kids safe.