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COVID-19 Survivor Impact Brief: Children and Youth Survivors

NCJ Number
Date Published
May 2020
6 pages
Based on listening sessions, strategy sessions, and conversations that focused on how various underserved crime survivors have been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, this Impact Brief addresses how children and youth who are crime survivors have been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic and how they can be better served.
Although children and youth have generally been spared the direct health effects of COVID-19, they are significantly impacted by efforts to reduce the spread of the virus, including school closures and social distancing. This puts children and youth at increased risk for abuse. Children's and youths' reduced access to teachers, family members, and friends has decreased the number of people who may observe and report child abuse and neglect. In addition, the risk for child abuse has increased as the stresses of financial decline and social isolation may reduce parents' patience and self-control in interactions with their children. The virus has also diminished the human and financial resources of existing systems for responding to the victimization of children and youth. Child Advocacy Centers (CACs) have mobilized to address virus-related challenges. Although CACs have committed to securing personal protective equipment for staff and clients, renovating interview and meeting spaces that accommodate distancing and adopting new protocols for ensuring safety have been challenging. Face-to-face interactions with children in the absence of potentially abusive or unsupportive caregivers has proven difficult to achieve. A reduction in joint child-abuse investigations and decreased interdisciplinary information-sharing has occurred due to safety concerns. CACs and other children and youth victim-service agencies have been classified by state and local governments as essential, thus minimizing disruption in services, especially for emergencies. Other strategies include the use televised delivery of therapeutic services and virtual multidisciplinary team meetings.