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Advocacy center expects surge in child abuse reports as children head back to school

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If you suspect a child is being abused, contact local police or the child abuse hotline at 1-800-252-5400.

SAN BENITO, Texas (KVEO) — A local advocacy center is expecting an increase in child abuse reports as kids go back to school.

According to the Executive Director of Children’s Advocacy Centers of Cameron and Willacy Counties, Laura Reagan, there are about 12,050 child abuse reports every year.

This past year there was a total of 900 child abuse cases in the Rio Grande Valley.

Although there may be less reports, Reagan says the severity of them has had a huge impact.

“What we have heard nationwide is that even though the reports are less because of the isolation of the pandemic, the actual severity of the reports have been greater,” she said.

According to Reagan, there have been two recent child deaths related to child abuse in the past month.  

As things slowly go back to normal, the organization is expecting a surge of reports after summer.

Meanwhile, Reagan says it is important for people to listen to kids and pay attention to hidden signs.

“The signs of child abuse are sort of hidden, so we really have to be vigilant as a community to watch for changes in children,” she said.

According to Reagan, children tend to withdraw when there is abuse and sometimes try to hide injuries.

Any suspect of abuse should be reported to a local police department or the child abuse hotline number 1-800-252-5400.

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