Release Date: April 23rd, 2020 - 1:27pm
Originator: D/Sergeant, Crystal Kelly, Child Abuse and Sexual Assault Unit, 905-825-4747 ext 8965
Contact: D/Sergeant, Crystal Kelly, Child Abuse and Sexual Assault Unit, 905-825-4747 ext 8965
Location: Halton Region
The Halton Regional Police Service's Child Abuse and Sexual Assault Unit (CASA) and Halton Children's Aid Society (Halton CAS) are urging residents to remain vigilant in reporting suspected child abuse. While the majority of suspected child abuse reports normally come from third-party sources, increased levels of isolation in the past weeks have resulted in a marked decrease in the number of reports of suspected child abuse/neglect.
"We normally receive concerns from schools, friends, other parents, coaches and daycare providers," says Halton Regional Police Service Detective Sergeant Crystal Kelly. "With social distancing measures in place and increased stress on families, there is little opportunity for children to interact with or reach out to those they trust."
The Halton Regional Police Service (HRPS) has responded to eight (8) calls in April, 2020 regarding suspected child abuse, compared to 30 calls during the same time period in April, 2019, a 73 per cent decrease year over year.
Similarly, the Halton CAS has observed as 27 percent decrease in calls in April 2020 compared to 2019. Since the beginning of April, 2020, only 85 new cases have been opened by Halton CAS, compared to 169 during the same period in April, 2019, a 50 per cent decrease year over year.
"At Halton Children's Aid Society, we are concerned about the increased risk of child abuse and neglect due to families being isolated from the community," says Jennifer Binnington, Director of Protection Services at the Halton Children's Aid Society. "We understand this is a very stressful time for many families and we want you to know that we are an essential service and are open to assist and support children, youth and families 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Please call us if you have any concerns or worries about a child during this time."
The HRPS and Halton CAS are asking that everyone remains mindful of the welfare of their neighbours, their children's friends and classmates, and their relatives. It is crucial that residents also speak to their children about what to do if a friend confides in them that they are not safe at home.
Victims or friends/family of victims are encouraged to contact the Halton Regional Police Service, Halton Children's Aid Society or other community resources if child abuse or neglect is happening.
Help is available.
The following is a list of valuable support services and resources in Halton Region for victims of child abuse: