RAINN ~ April 16, 2020
Washington, DC – In March, as shelter-in-place orders were implemented across the country, for the first time ever, half of the victims receiving help from the National Sexual Assault Hotline were minors.
“Unfortunately for many, and especially for children experiencing sexual abuse, ‘stay at home’ doesn’t mean ‘safe at home,’” said Scott Berkowitz, RAINN’s president.
Of minors who discussed coronavirus-related concerns, 67% identified their perpetrator as a family member and 79% said they were living with that perpetrator.
Overall, in one out of five sessions where the minor was living with the perpetrator, RAINN staff assisted the minor in contacting police during the session. More than half of sessions included disclosure-related planning, while four in 10 sessions included discussion of how to leave or avoid the perpetrator.
“Many minors are now quarantined at home with their abuser. Meanwhile, these kids are cut off from their safety net ― the teachers, coaches, and friends’ parents who are most likely to notice and report suspected abuse,” Berkowitz explained. “As a result, abuse reports to many state authorities have declined — not because there is less abuse taking place, but because children have less contact with adults outside the home who could potentially spot and report abuse. Sadly, it is likely that the risk of children being sexually abused will increase as shelter-in-place orders continue — one more tragic consequence of the public health crisis the country currently faces.”