With more children at home all hours of the day, concern of child abuse grows

Sierra French, Reporter

Missouri Boy Escaped

Many experts predicted a spike in unreported child abuse as a result of the pandemic, however the realities are far more gruesome than anyone imagined. 

Sophia Phillips, the chief of a Texas child advocate association, expresses her fears regarding the effects of the Stay-At-Home orders for at-risk children. 

“When there is incredible stress, there is a higher risk for abuse,” Phillips said. 

These effects have been seen all over the nation, but one of the most heinous reports of child abuse originated from a family in Missouri. 

A 12-year-old boy, whose name has been kept anonymous, escaped his home on May second, reporting he was handcuffed to the bed nightly. 

The boy’s parents, his father Chris Crets, and stepmother, Nicole Crets, claim the boy was ‘stealing food’, and handcuffing him to the bed kept him from doing so. Image: Christopher Crets and Nicole Crets

According to the boy, both parents were beating him with a belt, and he was found with severe bruising all over his body. 

When the boy was recovered, he weighed a mere 74 pounds. Police estimate he should weigh anywhere from 115-120 pounds. 

Both parents have been charged with child abuse, and are set to appear in court on May 27. 

Two other young children were found in the home and exhibited signs of abuse. All children have been removed from the home.  

 

Right at Home 

Kentucky has seen a plummet in reported child abuse cases since the Stay-At-Home order has been enacted, however, the reason may be much more sinister than meets the eye. 

The number of child abuse cases reported has plummeted from 2,000 a month to a mere 300, according to WDRB. Although the number reported has decreased, it is suspected that child abuse is simply going unreported, and thus, continuing without intervention. 

Rebekah Farley, a spokeswoman for the Boys and Girls Club, predicted the drop in reported cases that would result from the Stay-At-Home-Order. 

“The abuse isn’t suddenly stopping, the referrals are stopping,” Farley said. 

Child abuse is most often reported in the spring semester of the school year, and as a consequence of the school year terminating prematurely, much of the child abuse suspected by teachers is going unreported, according to Child Welfare.

Kentucky is ranked number one for child maltreatment, according to The Courier Journal. 

In these troubling times, it is important to stay on the look out for signs of abuse, even from home.

Alert authorities of any suspected abuse, and check in on those who are at risk for abuse.

Together, we can keep those of in the community safe, even if it is from behind a scree.