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Family Safety Center and Prevent Child Abuse Tennessee Provide Media Source List
Experts available to talk about broader impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on the most vulnerable in our communities
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (April 13, 2020) — The Family Safety Center and Prevent Child Abuse Tennessee have compiled the information below for members of the media who are seeking expert sources to provide comment on the broader human impact of the COVID-19 global health crisis in Nashville.
Measures that are necessary to reduce the spread of COVID-19, including prolonged closures of schools and businesses, are also creating unintended consequences for the wellbeing of those in the community who were already experiencing personal or economic challenges. These consequences include:
- Violence, abuse and neglect: Social isolation increases the risks for domestic violence, child abuse and other forms of interpersonal violence, including online sexual predators.
- As victims of domestic violence become socially isolated, there are more opportunities for abuse and fewer opportunities for them to connect with those who might help. TIME Magazine has reported on this issue at a national level.
- Similarly, child abuse and neglect is more likely to go unreported as social circles contract to only family members. Most cases of child abuse are reported by teachers and other community members who interact with children. In current circumstances, young children may also be left alone to care for themselves. USA Today has reported on this issue at a national level. ○ Many children and teens now have increased access to technology to facilitate at-home learning. With increased technology activity comes the increased ability for minors to
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encounter online sexual predators. Also, as children and teens become more isolated and lonely, they become more vulnerable and predators’ access points increase.
- Mental health: A wide-scale crisis, such as this national pandemic, can also trigger anxiety or depression for survivors of domestic or sexual violence who face mental health challenges due to their abuse. Isolation from support networks and other positive coping skills can also increase the use of negative coping skills, including substance abuse relapse.
- Childhood trauma and toxic stress: Current circumstances are also creating additional economic pressure for vulnerable families who are already living in poverty and facing challenges with basic needs such as stable housing and food. Living in poverty increases the likelihood that children will experience toxic stress—a serious condition that impedes their development and ability to learn. The pandemic is creating additional trauma, which is most harmful for those children who have already experienced severe trauma.
These are challenges that the Nashville Family Safety Center (FSC) and its many partner agencies help address on a regular basis. Although service delivery models have been modified to account for social distancing, help is still available for those in need.