Fewer Victims Coming Forward to Report Abuse During Pandemic

When the shutdown first began, Evansville, Ind. organizations like the Albion Fellows Bacon Center and Holly's House saw a reduction in people asking for help. Now, with schools reopening, they're slowly seeing more cases being reported.

Posted: Aug 31, 2020 7:57 PM
Updated: Sep 1, 2020 9:16 AM

Being trapped in their own home with their abusers during quarantine has made it even harder for victims of abuse to report what's happening to them.

Albion Fellows Bacon Center and Holly's House are just two Evansville, Ind. organizations that have been impacted by survivors choosing between living with their abusers and seeking shelter at an unknown place with the fear of COVID-19 everywhere.

“We’re all dealing with a collective trauma right now,” said Kristie Byrns, executive director of the Albion Fellows Bacon Center. “So, they’re dealing with that on top of the other things they’re dealing with.”

And for a short period of time, both Albion Fellows and Holly’s House saw a huge reduction in cases being reported.

"These children really trust their teachers and their daycare workers and their early childcare workers," said Molly Rivers, forensic investigator and program director with Holly’s House. "And so when they don't have that outlet to tell them what's going on, then we don't get that report. So, I would say our report was down about 65 percent for child sex abuse."

But with the state slowly reopening, more survivors are starting to come forward.

"We haven't had a huge surge since schools just started reopening,” Rivers said. "And a big thing for us is that there a little bit of concern still because now there are all these new rules for students and teachers to wear the mask and to be distanced so we want to make sure that children still understand that those individuals -- even though they are being safe -- are still trusted adults."

Those in need are encouraged to reach out.

"We can give advice, we can listen,” Rivers said. “We are not here to make any judgments about anything anyone is going through."

For more information on Albion, visit:  https://www.albionfellowsbacon.org/

For more information on Holly's House, visit: https://www.hollyshouse.org/

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