Child sexual abuse expected to rise amid COVID-19 pandemic, experts say
Alberta experts in child sexual abuse prevention are predicting an increase in incidents over the coming months.
COVID-19 forced the closure of the Little Warriors Be Brave Ranch — a non-profit treatment centre near Edmonton for survivors of child sexual abuse. Staff members will continue therapies online and by phone for 25 children and teens who were staying at the facility, along with about 75 more families across Canada.
Clinical director Dr. Wanda Polzin is concerned about how the pandemic will affect all vulnerable children. Global News asked her what she feels we need to know.
The following interview has been edited for brevity.
Q: Why might children be more at risk for abuse during this time?
Q: Are there any warning signs that friends or even neighbours could watch for?
A: There are signs such as a child/teen speaking out about being harmed in some way (this should always be taken seriously), journalling/writing about negative experiences, changes in mental health (increased anxiety, depressed mood, increased behavioural acting out, sleep issues, etc.).
Although we need to socially distance ourselves, it is important that we come together and safely reach out within our immediate family circles as well as within our communities.
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