September 1, 2020
As we continue to navigate these challenging times, our hearts go out to all the health care professionals and other essential service workers who are risking their lives every day to take care of us.
The #stayhome orders have certainly helped to flatten the curve of COVID-19 cases over the past several months. Unfortunately, there are unintended consequences to having everyone shelter at home. Reports released over the last several months are confirming the negative impacts #stayhome has had on children and youth in our communities.
Based on Toronto Foundation’s April 30th report, text messages to Kids Help Phone regarding emotional and sexual abuse have increased by over 20% since the start of COVID-19 and messages about physical abuse are up by 15%.
*Toronto Foundation, Better Toronto Coalition Hub, COVID Research Briefs: COVID-19 and the repercussions for mental health in Toronto
According to A.M. Campbell’s recent article titled ‘An increasing risk of family violence during the Covid-19 pandemic: Strengthening community collaborations to save lives’, “studies indicate the increased rates of domestic violence reported after a natural disaster often extend for several months after the catastrophic event occurs. In fact, a study looking at the aftermath of natural disasters in the United States and Canada found domestic violence victim service requests increased for an entire year following the event.”
Given the reports and studies mentioned above, and with schools opened again, we must be prepared for an increase in reporting as COVID-19 continues.
The pandemic and these reports have further strengthened our commitment to establishing York Region’s first Child & Youth Advocacy Centre. We need to ensure that once the abuse is reported, these children and youth get the best support possible, without further trauma.